Friday, July 27, 2012

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I threatened to do it... and I did!

I took a picture of Sparkle wearing the Jamaican hat... and she looked marvelous.

However, when I tried to post the pics to the blog, my computer would not accept them. And I don't know why. And it makes me sad.

So here are just a few old pics of this and that to hold you until I figure out what is happening!

"Yeah. I'm bad. It takes two of you to hold me down!"

You cannot tell me this dog wouldn't be perfect for a Beagle Calendar. Perfect!

"Did you just say you took a picture of Sparkle wearing my new Jamaican hat? Did you? "

Can you tell Roxie is still at her Grandmother's? I'm about to dress Sparkle up in her new bathing suit and flip flops!

RANDOMNESS #2 - My favorite pins from Pinterest this week sound really fun to me.

1. Popcorn Bar - This pinner made a Popcorn Bar for a party. She had a huge basket filled with fresh popcorn, containers to "help yourself" and different flavorings and toppings to add to the popcorn. It looked wonderful.

I think this would be fun to do for an outside "movie on the garage door" party.

And I love the "help yourself" set up.

2. Lighthouse Vacation - There are 52 lighthouses on the coast of Lake Michigan. I think it would be a lot of fun for me and Mikie to take a few days and explore, photograph and eat our way around Lake Michigan.

I would say, "I think it would be a lot of fun for The Faulkner Five to take a few days... ," but I think the kids would pretty much HATE this little trip.

Well, except for the eating part. They always enjoy the eating part.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I know it isn't Blog Linkage Day, but you simply must visit these blogs soon.

1. Go to www.kellehampton.com and read yesterday's post entitled "Summer, Expired." Just looking at the pictures cooled me down a little.

2. Go to Six Sisters' Stuff on My Blog List and click on today's post entitled "25 Olympic Snacks and Party Ideas." If I had a child with a birthday during the next two or three weeks, I would SO have an Olympic-themed birthday party. Great ideas.

RANDOMNESS #4 - The Adventure of Life - Part Three - Okay. At first, I thought The Adventure of Life was trying new and exciting things during my youth. The more, the better.

Later it became apparent to me The Adventure of Life was seeing the world through the eyes of my children... watching them grow and explore the world around them.

Now it seems to me The Adventure of Life has more to do with opening my eyes and heart to new people, new places and new seasons of life.

I have no doubt I will never zipline through the rainforests of Brazil... but I'm planning on ziplining through the deep woods of Alabama sometime this fall.

There are no plans in my immediate future to ski down the slopes of the Alps in Switzerland, but I'm pretty sure I would still enjoy riding a snowmobile ALL OVER Colorado... and then soaking in a hot, hot, hot tub sipping warm cocoa at the end of the day.

I have no desire to ever willingly swim with sharks (in or out of a steel cage), but I'll still watch Shark Week in August AND ride boogie boards in the waves of the Gulf... and I'll feel a little thrill from doing so!

I believe The Adventure of Life is in the eye of the beholder. I think it may have something to do with waking up in the morning and looking forward to "what might happen during this day the Lord has made." Not dreading another long, hot day of laundry and kitchen duty.

It's an attitude, I guess. And I notice it in others many times before I notice it in myself. But I am forever assessing my here and now, and I would LOVE for my hubby, kids, grandkids and others around me to sense the "adventure" in me! Some "You never know what's going to happen when The Enchanting Belinda stops by!"

That would make me happy.

"When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.” Winnie-the-Pooh

Here's to wearing my Big Boots all day, every day!

ANNOUNCEMENT #1 - I will be blogging on location Monday and Tuesday of next week. We're heading to Florida for a couple of days, and since the kiddos are all SO old, and I'm no longer needed to stand waist-deep in the pool to catch them as they jump off the side, I might have a little time to myself to reflect and post pictures of all the seafood I'm going to eat.

It should be fascinating.

ANNOUNCEMENT #2 - I will be announcing my 1,000th Post Contest details next week. While I do not know HOW you will be able to win, I have decided on the prize.

Are you ready?

I'm giving away a $15 Gift Certificate to one of my following favorite places:

1. Another Broken Egg
2. Original Pancake House
3. Olexa's
4. Lucia's Italian Restaurant in Helena

It will be the winner's choice!

Worth playing for? (Did I just sound like Jeff Probst from Survivor when I wrote "Worth playing for?" I thought so.)

Stay tuned for more details next week.

ANNOUNCEMENT #3 - I still haven't decided the fate of A Simple Life. This is not a teaser. I honestly don't know what I'm going to do yet.

It is driving me crazy... or "cray-cray," as Roxie says.

Weekend Happenings

Friday is a work day. Roxie's helping Grandmother. Austin will be working at the Chick. Josh will be doing lawn care and vehicle upkeep. Mike's at the office. I am in the laundry room (looking for ADVENTURE)!

These are the days of our lives...

Saturday will be much of the same except for one thing. WE'RE GOING TO BE PACKING! We're going to leave for the beach bright and early Sunday morning. We're not staying a long time, but long enough to put toes in the sand, eat fried crab claws and take midnight walks on the beach. (Or in our case, 9:30 p.m. walks on the beach.)

There was a question at some point in time about which Faulkner Five members were going to get to take this va-ca. Thankfully, thankfully, it worked out for all five of us.

As you can imagine, my camera will be working overtime, and I cannot wait!

Have a delightful weekend. I'll be blogging to you from atop my air conditioning vent in Florida first thing Monday mid-morning. (Hey! It's vacation... and I'm sleeping until 9:00 a.m.!)

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


The Enchanting and Soon-to-be-a-Deep-Golden-Tan Belinda

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dog Walking Date

Good Thursday morning!

Or as they say in Jamaica, "Whaa gwaan?" (That means "What's going on?" or "How are you?" I know this to be true because I "googled" it on the Internet, and everything on the Internet is 100 percent correct.)

Roxie's sweet friend, Taylor, went on a cruise last week. One of the "stops" was Jamaica, and this was Roxie's souvenir.

I tried to get a picture of the guys wearing the hat, but Austin informed me it was a "girl" hat.

I don't know when The Boy became an authority on Jamaican head wear, but he's been a little smarter than me for quite some time now, and I don't intend to argue with him.

My picture is tinted because I'm sitting in front of a pinkish couch... wearing a teal and blue polka dot shirt... with a green, yellow, red and black Jamaican hat on my head.

Believe me. I am much less painful to look at in black and white than FULL BLOWN COLOR!

If you're a female, and you stop by Faulkner Farms (circa 1842), be prepared to be photographed wearing the hat!

RANDOMNESS #1 - The Boy and I have a new favorite thing this Summer. We love Yoplait Frozen Smoothie Mixes. The chocolate/banana and strawberry/banana are the only two we've tried so far, but we are hooked.

All you need is one cup of milk, the bag of frozen goodness and a blender. It makes two huge glasses of smoothie.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I'm going to finish my thoughts on "The Adventure of Life" in tomorrow's post. I'm a little here and there today, and I cannot effectively put sentences together... which is why I'm taking pictures of people wearing Jamaican hats.

Blog Linkage - Enjoy!

1. Click on Six Sisters' Stuff under My Blog List and scroll down to today's recipe... Better Than Anything Brownies. Now bake these and bring them to my house!

Oh, yeah.

2. Click on Confessions of a Pioneer Woman under My Blog List, and read yesterday's post entitled "New Summer Looks."

Expect to see pictures of Sparkle wearing the Jamaican hat tomorrow morning!

3. Click on Nitty.Gritty under My Blog List, and read yesterday's post entitled "She's Brought Us More Joy." Beautifully written.

Dog Walking Date

It is hot outside. And when it is hot outside, Sparkle rarely moves. In the Spring and Fall, she is almost giddy and she jumps and plays like a puppy, but during the three or four months of the year with heavy humidity and 100 degree heat indexes she shows her age.

I am the world's worst when it comes to wanting to do anything active at 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. these days. I want to put on my pajamas and sit on an air vent. It's what I look forward to all day long.

But Sparkle puts on a little weight during June, July and August, and she needs some one-on-one "walking around the neighborhood" time.

Which brings me to today's date!

We cannot walk Sparkle without Copper. He will not have it! So two leashes, two beagles and two people talking one-on-one as they stroll around the neighborhood in the cooler temps of nightfall would make a great date.

And Mikie and I intend to start this date tonight. (I called him a few minutes ago. He's thrilled, I tell you!)

And tomorrow night, it might be Mikie and Roxie. The next night might be me and The Boy. I think you get it. The combinations can go on and on and on.

Is this the most fun date ever invented?

No. No, it is not.

But it can still be enjoyable, easy, inexpensive one-on-one time before school starts again and life begins to get busy... again.

Maybe I'll see you and yours tonight. I'll be the one walking the slow mini-beagle. Mikie will be wrangling the hyper beagle!

Have a thrilling Thursday. I'll be back tomorrow with Weekend Happenings and a couple of small (but very important) announcements.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summer Slumber Parties Ideas

Good Wednesday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Sparkle isn't very active these days. It's hard being a beagle in Alabama during the Summer. Very hard, indeed.

Yet the beagles do not want to rest in their nice, cool basement room when it is offered. They WANT to be outside... in the 104-degree-heat-index-type-weather... wearing a fur coat.

I do not understand.

But my job isn't to understand. It is to keep their water bowl filled with ice cubes.

When I see her like this, I revert back to "newborn Mommy mode," and I hold my fingers under her nose to check her breathing. And then she snaps at me because it is very disconcerting to wake up with fingers under your nose.

In case you cannot tell from her expression, she's getting a little annoyed with me. I'm wasting time taking pictures when I should be popping ice cubes into her water bowl.

I know. My priorities are all messed up.

RANDOMNESS #2 - In case you've ever wondered what the best Ben & Jerry ice cream flavor is, I will tell you. It is Cherry Garcia. If you are tired of trying all of the different flavors trying to decide for yourself, you can just skip ahead and buy only Cherry Garcia from now until death do you part.

The second best flavor is Chunky Monkey.

You can thank me later.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Mikie and I found this little restaurant in our travels last weekend. It's right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. We're going to eat there soon!

It even sounds delicious.

RANDOMNESS #4 - The Adventure of Life - Part Two - I came to realize the real Adventure began soon after the kids were born. Everything before their arrival paled in comparison to the Adventure which took place each and every day.

Going out to eat at a new restaurant was an "adventure."

A trip to the Zoo to see the baby gorilla was an "adventure."

Fishing off the pier (while wearing two life jackets AND floaties) was an "adventure."

The first day of Kindergarten was an "adventure."

The first day of FIRST GRADE was a tremendous "adventure." (One from which I have never quite recovered, I'm afraid.)

But as the kids grew, the new adventure was letting them try different things. Cringing and eye-covering became part of my new identity, and I finally began to understand and appreciate the phrase, "Ignorance is bliss." And I wished my kids didn't feel the need to inform me of their daredevil antics when I, for some reason or other, was mercifully absent.

While some might have seen true adventure as jumping from an airplane or bungy jumping, I could honestly say day-to-day life with kids was much closer to the real thing. The "not knowing what's going to happen next" aspect could drive you crazy... or for the really good Mom, it could give you that adrenaline rush you experienced when you were a little younger and having your own adventures.

As I sit here this morning, I absolutely know what my To-Do List says, and in that list I take comfort.

But another part of me knows any second the phone could ring, a group of kids could rush through the front door or the "plans" which were once set in stone could change... drastically.

I looked forward to the future knowing my days of adventure and thrill-seeking would soon come to an end.

But then I turned 50... and kids graduated from high school... and menopause began... and some kids started talking about moving away and beginning their own lives... and I started to wonder if my life adventure was ending... or just beginning a new chapter.

Hmmm. I'll let you know tomorrow.

Wednesday Wisdom - The following isn't deep... but it is very, very wise.

"Let's begin by taking a smallish nap or two." Winnie the Pooh.

Is it any wonder he's my favorite? We think alike. When in doubt, it is ALWAYS prudent to "begin by taking a smallish nap or two."

Summer Slumber Parties Ideas

Since Summer Slumber Parties can pop up out of nowhere, here are some unique ideas I found while blog-hopping. And "unique" simply means I've never heard of them before today!

Keep in mind, some of these ideas are for younger kids and some would work for pre-teens and/or teens.

1. Put a note inside a balloon marked with a time, and do what it says at that hour (10:00 p.m. - Bake Cookies, 2:00 a.m. - Play a Game, etc.).

2. After dark, take all of your guests outside. Assign one child to be the "Ghost," and have him or her stand at a designated "Home Base."

To begin the game, the Ghost must count off the hours out loud ("One o'clock, two o'clock," and so on, up to "twelve o'clock") while everyone else runs and hides.

After saying, "twelve o'clock," the Ghost should start looking for people. If the Ghost spots someone, that person can try to run back to Home Base to avoid being tagged. (All players are safe once they reach Home Base.) Also, whoever spots the Ghost coming can yell, "Ghost in the graveyard! Run! Run! Run!" to warn the other kids.

If the Ghost tags someone before they reach Home Base, that person becomes the Ghost for the next round. (Just playing in the dark in your pajamas would be fun and a little scary.)

3. Have a sleeping bag race. The kids have to wriggle across the floor in their bags to the finish line.

4. Make up a line dance to a hit song and video. Watch the "music video" before everyone leaves the next morning.

The Enchanting Belinda says: If it is really good (or funny), make sure you burn copies to give to the girls as a party favor!

5. Play Piggly-Wiggly. Everyone puts out their sleeping bags. Choose someone to be "It." They must leave the room. Everyone else hides inside the sleeping bags (not their own). When they are ready, "It" comes back. She sits on one of the sleeping bags and says, "Piggly-Wiggly." The person inside says "Oink, Oink." "It" must guess who is inside the bag. If they are right, the person in the bag becomes "It."

6. Use frosting to decorate a graham cracker so it looks like your sleeping bag with you in it!

7. At the end of the slumber party, sit in a circle and sign beach balls with a waterproof marker. Write all about the good times you had together at the sleepover.

8. Think of unusual places to sleep (the attic, a tree house, a tent outside in your backyard, a trampoline).

The Enchanting Belinda says: I LOVE this one. How much fun would it be to sleep in the attic?

9. Have a shaving cream fight... outside.

The Enchanting Belinda says: This goes against everything I am and have always been. That being said, if you're the go-with-the-flow kind of Mom, I know the kids would love it!

10. Have each chick write something nice describing each girl at the party on a slip of paper. (Roxie is SO funny, Mary never says anything bad about anyone, Lisa has the prettiest hair, etc.). Have decorated bags set out with each girl's name on the front. When the girls finish writing their "compliments," have them put the slips of paper in the appropriate bag. Give the bags to the girls as they leave. It will put a big smile on their face as they drive home from an evening of fun with their friends.

Have a lovely Wednesday. I'll be back tomorrow with Blog Linkage, a Date and a few more pics.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mixed Berry Cobbler

Good Tuesday morning!

And a lovely, but hot, Tuesday it is!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I made the Pinterest Grape-Cicles Saturday night. The Faulkner Five were a little divided on the frozen grape issue. Josh kept asking, "What's wrong with regular grapes from the refrigerator?"

The answer to that question is, "Not one thing! I'm just trying something different."

Trying something different with a family who avoids change at all cost can be difficult at times, and more than one member of the family has threatened to discontinue my Pinterest account.

So far, so good.

I'm still on Pinterest, and the family still gathers around my dining room table for meals.

Will they never learn?

One reason I love the Grape-Cicles would have to be the color combo. They go with my dining room, placemats and dishes. It's not the best "go-by" for food selection, but I like it when it works out that way.

See? Aren't they pretty?

RANDOMNESS #2 - Okay. Once again, I am not going to wait until Thursday to share some wonderful blog linkage. Go to www.kellehampton.com TODAY and read her post entitled "What They Share." So, so sweet.

RANDOMNESS #3 - The Adventure of Life - Part One - I decided to use a "theme" this week. It's been awhile, hasn't it? I started thinking about the word "adventure" last night, and while my mind raced with sentences, stories and life experiences, I decided to slow down and write a little bit each day.

Too many words in my head at one time is overwhelming.

And if you know me, you know my one goal in life is NOT to be overwhelmed.

Well, that and to meet Tom Selleck.

I have such lofty goals, don't you think?

When I was much younger, I knew no fear.

I ran into the ocean as a toddler/preschooler with my parents trailing behind trying to catch me. I wanted to be pushed the highest in the swing... and I was. I wanted to jump off the high dive rather than the low dive... and I did. I rode every ride at the amusement park without hesitation... more than once.

Every new experience... every roller coaster... every swim in the ocean... was simply another "adventure."

I believe MY first fears began when I became a little older and wiser. But in my case, I also became more stubborn. A little fear was not going to stop me from white water rafting or sliding down slippery rocks to the spring-fed pool below.

The amusement park rides became more and more intimidating, but so did my desire to push through any thought in the back of my mind. "Perhaps it IS too dangerous or unnecessary or just plain silly to keep trying."

"Nope. I'm going to do it!" I told the voice in my head... and I did.

And then I began the greatest adventure of all... motherhood.

And my fears could no longer be contained.

I was afraid of uncovered wall outlets, stairs, slides on the playground with humps in the middle. I was terrified of cars driving too fast near me and my kiddos, strange dogs and bees.

The ocean, which had once been so fun and inviting and exciting, was now just a giant DANGER ZONE. The words "shark bait," "undertow," "red flag," "yellow flag," "purple flag" and "jellyfish" played in my mind over and over again as I watched and counted the kids in my care.

Fear was exhausting.

"It will get better as the kids get older," I told myself. "They are just so little and helpless now. Of course, I am scared for them."

The Adventure of Life had turned into a huge RESPONSIBILITY. As any adult can tell you, "Adventure" is such a fun, youthful word. "Responsibility" is a heavy, adult word.

They are total opposites.

Or are they?

Part Two tomorrow!

Mixed Berry Cobbler

Not only do I have an easy, doable and delicious dessert recipe this morning... I have mouth-watering pictures!

You will need the following:

2 12-ounce bags frozen mixed berries
1 box white cake mix
1 can Diet 7-Up

1. Place frozen fruit in a 9" x 13" baking dish.

2. Pour dry cake mix over the top.

3. Pour soda slowly over cake mix. DO NOT stir the cake mix and the pop. If you stir the two, you will have a cake-like topping.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.

Look at my pictures!

These are my wild berries!

Aren't they beautiful? Very "4th of July!"

The only thing I had to "do" during the making of this entire cobbler is "pour." Fun fact for you... I'm a great "pourer!"

Any clear soda will do. (And you can use diet if you like.)

A mere 45 minutes later and you have a beautiful, edible cobbler.

It looks good. It smells good. It tastes good.

We call that a success around these parts.

And, of course, the recipe is from Pinterest.

Have a terrific Tuesday. I'll be back tomorrow with Wednesday Wisdom, a Party OR a Seasonal Tradition, Randomness and pics.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

Mindless Monday will be what it was always meant to be today... more pics than words.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Roxie's Volleyball Camp ended with a great finish Saturday. They were undefeated in their "category" during tournament play in the afternoon. I don't know how to explain "pools," "seeds" or "single- or double elimination," so I won't even begin to try. I would embarrass myself and my daughter.

However, "undefeated" means they won their tournament games. They did not lose.

And here are the highlights.

This is Roxie and the team before the games began Saturday morning. They look refreshed, eager and ready to win. (This look changes over the course of seven hours.)

Roxie is known for her "cool as a cucumber" disposition on the court. (Insert big smiley face here!)

Not only does this appear to be the perfect serve... IT WAS! It was the perfect serve! SCORE!

I have no idea what this look means. I'm just glad she wasn't looking at me.

Great form!

Roxie and Kirsten allowed me to take a picture as the day ended. I think you can tell how hard these chicks played... and I was so proud of all of them.

RANDOMNESS #2 - During the lunch break, Mike and I decided to have a little mini-date. Since we were unbelievably close to The Best Strip Mall EVER, I took him to Saw's Barbecue, Dreamcakes and the Homewood Antique Mall.

It was delicious and lovely and fun. We crammed a nice little date into 95 minutes. Saw's is busier on Saturday than during the week... but not by much. We were lucky to get a table, and once you actually have a table, you don't mind eating elbow-to-elbow with complete strangers.

It's actually kind of nice.

RANDOMNESS #3 - The Faulkner Five, Melia, Stephanie and Bev's family went to see the new Batman movie Sunday afternoon. The theater was completely full, and while we enjoyed the movie, it was impossible not to think about the innocent people in Colorado who were killed or injured this past week... simply because they went to a movie.

My thoughts and prayers will be with those people and their families in the days and months to come.

RANDOMNESS #4 - As of today, I will definitely write 25 more posts for A Simple Life.

As of today, I do not know if I will totally give up the blog, or write once a week (Monday or Friday).

As of today, I do not know the details of the HUGE 1,000th Post Contest, but I will let everyone know next week.

As of today, I'm getting a little nervous about all the indecision surrounding A Simple Life. Please do not let my inability to make up my mind in any way, shape or form put a damper on your day.

And I'll try to do the same.

Have a super Monday. I'll be back tomorrow with a Recipe, Randomness and extra pics from the weekend. (I photographed food!)

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


The Enchanting and Totally Indecisive Belinda

Friday, July 20, 2012

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday afternoon!

I took a few pictures on my way to Volleyball Camp this morning...

I've been trying to take "bumblebee" pictures for awhile now, and I have discovered (just like Josh's tubing pics) they tend to be blurry.

What can I say? I'm not good at everything!

But my "building" photos are marvelous! A little crooked in the view finder... but marvelous!

Just like Birmingham Southern, Samford has the most beautiful landscaping. They should win an award or something.

RANDOMNESS #1 - As is now my habit, I'm going to mention my favorite pins from Pinterest this week.

1. Grape-Cicles - This one is so simple, it would be a shame not to try. You put green grapes and red grapes on a wooden skewer and freeze. When frozen, they are supposed to be a healthy, addictive treat. (I'll be the final judge of that!)

2. Infinity Bath Tub - You've seen pictures of the pools. The only thing better than having an infinity pool would be having an infinity bath tub. It's on my wish list.

3. Potted Blueberry Bushes - Not only are they pretty, but they bear much fruit! I want three... today.

4. Ocean Hammock - If I ever found one, I might never get out. There are two poles with a hammock between them close to shore. The bottom of the hammock is BARELY over the water, but I imagine as waves come in, the water cools you off. It looks lovely.

5. Organization - I've started an Organization board, and I have one pin. I'm hoping to fill this board with tons of new ideas... and then implement them into my daily life.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I did read an organization tip from Pinterest not too long ago, but it didn't work for me.

"Never leave a room without taking something with you to put away."

I walked from room to room to room for three hours putting items away. And then I forgot why I left my bedroom in the first place.

And I was exhausted.

And I wanted an ocean hammock.

Weekend Happenings

Actually, it's very simple.

Friday - Austin is working at The Chick. He and Melia are watching The Dark Knight tonight in prep for Sunday's movie-going experience. (She has never seen the Batman movies.)

Josh is off today after a long week of landscaping, and I assume there will be some napping involved.

Roxie is attending Day 4 of Volleyball Camp. Yesterday was her 11-hour day, but she had a great time. She's tired, sore and more tired, but she has enjoyed it.

Another day, another t-shirt. This is the camp t-shirt we were "given" after registration. Our school colors are maroon and gray, so this is a perfect addition to our collection.

Saturday - Austin and Josh will be working at The Chick and cutting yards, respectively. (Hopefully, my yard will get cut, too. I hope! I hope!)

Roxie, Mike and I will be going to the last day of Roxie's Volleyball Camp to watch the game play-offs. It could last one hour or five hours. We do not know, nor do we care. We are in close proximity to a mall, a food court and a "nice place to take a walk."

It's going to be fun.

Sunday - All of us (including Melia and Bev's family) will be attending the new Batman movie after church.

It lasts 2 hours and 45 minutes. I'm not even going to pretend I'll make it through the whole movie without a bathroom break. I'm not even going to try!

And that's it for us. I hope you and your family have some fun Summer plans in the works. Be safe and have a great weekend.

I'll be back Monday with Mindless Monday and pics.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Month of August Dates

Good Thursday afternoon!

My morning got away from me, but I'm going to post efficiently and quickly... because I have things to share!

RANDOMNESS #1- Roxie is officially exhausted from Volleyball Camp (8 hours yesterday and 11 hours today), but she's really enjoying it, too.

I love all of her volleyball garb, but this shirt is my favorite.

Did you know it's against the law to walk outside wearing volleyball shoes? Well, it is. "They" are very serious about NOT walking outside wearing volleyball shoes!

The names of all the girls on the team are in the pink ribbon.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I do this on occasion, but it's so much fun seeing all the bizarre and unique holidays in each month.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out how to celebrate the rest of July with the family!

National Blueberry Month

National Ice Cream Month

July 19 - National Raspberry Cake Day - I would call some of my favorite bakeries to see if any of them served Raspberry Cake... and then I would take everyone with me to try it out!

July 20 - Moon Day - Easy, breezy. A quilt, bug spray, a fun book and a flashlight. Enjoy a Summer evening reading a book and looking at the moon!

July 21 - National Junk Food Day - I think this is self-explanatory! Junk food for dinner! (Once a year will not hurt you!)

July 22 - Hammock Day - This sounds lovely. If you don't have one, maybe it could be a family investment!

July 23 - National Hot Dog Day AND Vanilla Ice Cream Day - Guess what's for supper?

July 24 - Cousin Day - Is there anything better than spending the day with your cousins? Plan something fun.

July 28 - National Milk Chocolate Day - How hard would it be to leave a Hershey's Chocolate Bar on everyone's pillow?

July 29 - National Lasagna Day - Stouffer's anyone?

July 30 - National Cheesecake Day - You cannot tell me your family wouldn't LOVE dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Well, you could, but I wouldn't believe you.

RANDOMNESS #3 - My kids loved Gogurts when they were small. Let's see how much they like them at 15, 18 and 21!

Because when it is all said and done, isn't "portable low-fat yogurt" more of a need than a luxury?

I think so, too.

Blog Linkage - Okay. I've got a new website for you to visit... but only if you like looking at really good pictures. I enjoy photography websites, but unless I can get better just by lookin', I don't know if I will ever improve. (Going to a class is pretty much beyond what I can manage at this particular season of life. My gnat-like attention span and "technical" camera terms do not go well together... at all.)

1. Go to www.shuttersisters.com. And just scroll down. And enjoy the beautiful Summer photos. Great blog.

2. If you're looking for a fun craft for you and yours one afternoon, go to eighteen25 under My Blog List and click on today's post entitled "Terrariums." Step-by-step instructions are always a plus.

Month of August Dates

I'm listing all of the good "date" holidays in the month of August so you can be prepared!

August is National Peach Month AND National Picnic Month. Nuff said.

August 3 - National Watermelon Day - Make a date with one of your littles and pick out a watermelon from the Farmer's Market.

August 9 - Book Lover's Day - Sounds like a Books-A-Million "buy-your-date-a-book" date to me.

August 12 - Middle Child's Day - If you have one of these, I think you know what to do!

August 17 - National Thriftshop Day - Go! Spend your date rummaging through the thrift stores together.

August 26 - National Dog Day - I think a visit to a fun pet shop is in order. (Or do you have a friend who has new puppies?)

August 31 - National Trail Mix Day - Go on a little shopping trip with one of your kiddos and create your own family trail mix blend.

And by all means, have fun!

Have a great Thursday. I'll be back tomorrow with Weekend Happenings. I have one word for you... BATMAN!

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Birthday Traditions

Good Wednesday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Roxie's Volleyball Camp is going well. They met last night from 6:00 until 9:00. Today she will be there from 1:00 until 9:00. Each day has a different schedule.

By Saturday, she will have worn each and every one of her new volleyball shirts (plus the camp t-shirt), and that makes her happy.

And if The Chick is happy, everyone is happy!

RANDOMNESS #2 - My Josh (MJ) is working like crazy in this heat. Landscaping, lawn maintenance, 100 degree heat index... all those things equal weight loss... and muscles... and one extremely dirty load of laundry at 8:00 each evening... and one really, really tired guy each and every night.

As of now, he is lovin' it.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Since it is a rainy day, I've added a couple of things to my To-Do List this morning.

I want to read my two new magazines cover-to-cover!

I feel the need to create! My scrapbook goal for 2012 is 365 pages... completed! (I'm more than a little behind.)

No. I do not want to go tubing and fall asleep in the backseat of the truck. However, the "nap thing" is looking pretty good!

Wednesday Wisdom - I seem to have a "birthday" theme going today, so quotes about aging seem appropriate!

"Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed." Charles Schultz

"They say that age is all in your mind. The trick is keeping it from creeping down into your body." Unknown

"The first sign of maturity is the discovery that the volume knob also turns to the left." Jerry M. Wright

"You know you're getting old when all the names in your black book have M.D. after them." Arnold Palmer

"The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age." Lucille Ball

"Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you've got to start young." Fred Astaire

Birthday Traditions

I visited The Dating Divas blog this morning, and they had a wonderful birthday tradition. (Go there now. Click on The Dating Divas under My Blog List.)

After a few more searches, I found several birthday traditions which were different or unfamiliar to me... and I thought I would share.

1. If your child is turning 4 or older, cover the bedroom floor with balloons while he/she sleeps on the night before his/her birthday.

2. Sift through the stash in your attic for a toy that meant something to you as a child. A piece of your history makes a sweet and meaningful gift.

3. In lieu of a disposable paper greeting, give the child a book with a handwritten message on the inside. Your child will have a memorable collection to remind him of birthdays past.

4. Make each meal a celebration. Put candles on the morning pancakes, on the sandwich at lunch, as well as on the traditional cake after dinner.

5. Celebrate with fireworks. It makes for a very festive evening.

6. Each guest can hide the present they brought for the birthday boy or girl upon arrival. Finding the presents is a game for the child.

FROM THE ENCHANTING BELINDA - If you have a t-shirt lovin' teenager (and I do), this might be a good gift idea for you and yours.

Roxie loves t-shirts. When Mikie and I were eating at Mugshots a couple of weeks ago, I told him it would be fun to buy a t-shirt from each and every restaurant or attraction we visited over the next few weeks and give Roxie a birthday box of new t-shirts on her special day.

Since Roxie's 16th birthday is set in stone, we're going to do this for one of her 17th birthday gifts.

However, if we had started this gift, we would already have the following t-shirts:

32 Degrees
White Water Atlanta (from Josh's trip)
Beach T-Shirt (from Austin's trip)
New York Pizza

She'll love this gift... next year!

Have a magnificent Wednesday. Remember... It's Encouraging Wednesday. Speak kindly to everyone you may meet... and I'll try to do the same!

I'll be back tomorrow with Blog Linkage, Dates, pics and more.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Soda Pop Ice Cream AND Chocolate Frosty Ice Cream

Good Tuesday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I visited one of my favorite blogs this morning, and I found yet another reason to love www.kellehampton.com.

She loves gray days, too!

"Come 3:00, ominous clouds cluster overhead and shadow our home with complete idleness. In the last few weeks, I've started a couple essays, a home project, a closet overhaul, two to-do lists and a new calendar system for activities, but they all remain unfinished thanks to the weather. Any other time I would feel unsettled, but gray afternoons tend to be so forgiving of procrastination.

"I will finish the essays soon. I will complete my home projects, finish my closet, unravel some deeper thoughts and put them into words soon. But right now, it's raining. And unfinished seems a perfectly good place to be."

I couldn't have said it better myself.



I couldn't.

Hop over to Enjoying the Small Things today and read her beautiful blog and look at her fantastic pictures.

RANDOMNESS #2 - As promised, I added a few of Josh's tubing pics. No matter what I do, Josh tends to come out a little blurry when I take tubing pictures... and I'm not sure why.

Yeah. Everyone's brave two seconds after the tubing begins.

It isn't documented, but Josh did land in the lake a couple of times. It happens, but it is rare.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Fun fact for you... I have a Sitemeter on the blog, and it doesn't give specific information, but it does give you general locations (city and state) of the visitors to A Simple Life.

I have visitors from 31 different states. I'm not a mathematician, but I believe that is more than half of the 50 states!

And get this! I've had a reader or two from France, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Israel, Taiwan, Sweden, the Philippines, United Kingdom and Hungary.

Pretty cool, huh?

Now if I can just figure out how to break into Asia and South America before the 1,000th post, I could truly be a happy, happy woman.

I know. It doesn't take much.

RANDOMNESS #4 - I have decided Body Pump will be the death of me. I thought being the mother of three teenagers would eventually do it, but I was wrong. It will definitely be Body Pump... or a combination of the two.

If and when Body Pump becomes too, too much for me, I will go to a class called Body Flow. The class is all about stretching, which is comical, because I'm all about stretching, too.

I will need to attend Body Pump as long as possible though, because after I finish Body Pump AND Body Flow, the only thing left is Body Lie Down.

I'll probably end up teaching that one.

Soda Pop Ice Cream

As usual, I get all of my recipe inspiration from Pinterest. However, I do make a lot of homemade ice cream during the Summer months, and these look easy AND delicious.

You will need the following:

2 liters of soda (Sunkist for orange ice cream, Root Beer for root beer float ice cream, etc.)
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1. Pour everything into an ice cream maker.

2. Let your person in charge of the ice cream maker do his/her thing.

Guys... I cannot make it any easier!

Chocolate Frosty Ice Cream

You will need the following:

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
Cool Whip (8 ounces)
Chocolate milk

1. Mix all the ingredients together in the ice cream maker. Pour chocolate milk to the "Fill Line" of your container.

2. Read Number 2 above!

Have a splendid Tuesday. I'll be back tomorrow with Wednesday Wisdom, a Seasonal Tradition, volleyball pics and more.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

And since the tubing pictures were so "lacking" this morning, I decided to leave you with a clear and concise picture of Josh!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

A new week! I needed a new week... although the old week did end on a good note. We did something very Summer-y, and it was good!

We took a risk, and we went tubing. There was a 50 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms... everywhere. It was overcast for some of the time, but there were no thunderstorms while we were on the water.

Roxie and Austin decided to tube together first which is not the "norm." During one turn, Austin decided it was an "every man for himself" moment, and Roxie left the tube.

Roxie was not pleased.

I call these "tubin' toes." They are not to be confused with "beach toes."

Sometimes the most exhausting part about tubing ISN'T staying on the tube. It's getting back into the boat.

Austin knew better...

And you can tell exactly how this little stunt turned out. That's right. Face plant! (It happened quickly, and I didn't get a picture. Maybe next time.)

You absolutely cannot tube unless you wear the correct jewelry. Obviously, giant pearl earrings and tubing go hand-in-hand.

This looks incredibly sweet, but I didn't take the pictures of Austin tossing Roxie's head over to Josh's shoulder... and the aftermath of waking Roxie.

I'll just say things got a little rowdy in the back seat.

RANDOMNESS - My Randomness is so incredibly random, I have decided to make a quick Top Ten List of Randomness... in no particular order.

1. Yes. I have 400 more pictures from tubing, and I will show more tomorrow. And Josh will be in some of those pictures.

2. Roxie starts Volleyball Camp tomorrow. It ends Saturday. As far as the blog goes, there will be many, many gray and maroon pictures taken over the next few days.

3. Josh and Austin are working outside and inside (respectively) ALL week long, and with Roxie at Camp, I hope to get a great deal done around the house... or at least finish Downton Abbey.

4. In all seriousness, Downton Abbey is so much fun to watch. Roxie and I are halfway through Season 2, and then we will have to WAIT! I've decided my favorite way to watch a television series is three years after it has been cancelled. I can watch episode after episode after episode with no commercial interruptions... and no WAITING.

5. It's semi-official. We're having sliders tonight.

6. I only have 31 more posts until I reach 1,000. I have to come up with a great contest... SOON!

7. July, 2012 will forever be known as "The Month Body Pump Tried to Kill Me." If I had abs, they would be keeping me up at night. As it stands now, my stomach just hurts... badly.

8. I'll be 51 soon, which means I'll officially be "in my 50s." I'm not lovin' that little phrase.

9. We're planning on seeing the new Batman movie this weekend. It's going to be EPIC!

10. Josh's third Senior Mini-Trip is almost finished (planning-wise). I'll let you in on the details soon

I'll be back tomorrow with pictures, Randomness and a great new recipe.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, July 13, 2012

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

I'll be honest. I'm dragging a little this week. Between the heat, the "go-with-the-flow" spontaneity of living in a house with a 20-something and two teenagers AND my fascination with everything Downton Abbey, my weekly "To-Do" List looks practically new... which means I didn't mark a great deal off my list. Heavy, heavy sigh.

But today's a new day, and although it is hot (again), AND I do not know what anyone has planned for the day (again), AND I simply must watch at least two episodes of Downton Abbey before my head hits the pillow tonight (again), I am hopeful.

Hopeful... Unrealistic... In the above sentence, those two words have the same meaning.

Someone got bored after midnight and tried to see how many cards they could flip into a bowl... in the middle of the den. But they weren't bored enough to pick them up! What to do? What to do? Do I pick them up, or save them until this afternoon for the card flipper?

I totally agree. I'm waiting for the card flipper!

Weekend Happenings

Friday - I don't know.

Saturday - The Boy is coming home from a week at the beach with Melia's family. (He's had a really good time.) Roxie is spending the day with her cousin, Monica.

The rest of us... I don't know.

Sunday - If it doesn't rain, The Faulkner Five are tubing Sunday after church... and we're looking forward to a day on the lake.

The wind blowing through our hair...

Mikie trying to throw one of the kids off the tube...

Yep. Good times. Good times.

If it does rain... I don't know.

I hope y'all have a grand and glorious weekend. I'll probably be back to my old self by Monday. We'll see.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Manufacturer Dates

Good Thursday evening!

As you can clearly see, my 1:00 p.m. deadline has turned into a 7:36 p.m. deadline... so I will share some Dates and Blog Linkage quickly and efficiently.

Because that is who I am now. The Quick and Efficient Belinda.

Nope. That can't be right!

Blog Linkage - Don't waste a minute. Go to www.kellehampton.com and just scroll through post after post of Summer. Beautiful!

DO NOT MISS the little video at the bottom called "Nella the Mama." I almost cried. So sweet.

Manufacturer Dates

This came straight from Birmingham Bargain Mom. I LOVE HER!

The summer is a great time to check out manufacturers, retailers and attractions who offer behind the scene tours.

Golden Flake (Birmingham, Alabama) - Tours of the Birmingham Manufacturing Plant are given Monday through Wednesday. Please call in advance if you wish to tour on Thursday (excluding holidays). Tours are given at 9:30 a.m.,11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary, but school class tours and any tour group over 10 persons should call in advance and make an appointment to avoid waiting.

Children must be 5 years of age or older to go on the tour. This is a walking tour, so please wear flat rubber soled fully enclosed shoes.

NOTE - This is an excellent tour. I loved eating warm cheese curls!

Golden Eagle Syrup (Fayette, Alabama) - Tours start at 10:30 a.m. and end around noon. The tour lasts 30 minutes. Admission is free. You will receive free samples, and you can also purchase syrup while you're there.

Jimmie Hale Mission (Birmingham, Alabama) - You would be pleasantly surprised to discover what the Jimmie Hale Mission is all about.

The "I Had No Idea" Tour is a great way for you and your date to see first hand the work of The Jimmie Hale Mission ministries. At these tours we do not ask for a donation.

If you are ready to be surprised, e-mail Bonnie Hendrix or call 205-323-5878. You may also register online for a tour of the Mission ministries.

NOTE - This sounds like a great date for a father/daughter or father/son, but I would talk to Ms. Hendrix about what age would be best for a child. (I'm thinking maybe older teenager.)

Blue Bell Creamery Tours (Sylacauga, Alabama) - They offer daily tours Monday through Friday. You'll need to make a reservation.

Tours are in the morning at 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, noon and 1:00 p.m. The tour lasts about 45 minutes with a free scoop of ice cream at the end!

Admission is $3 for adults. It is $2 for seniors and children ages 6 to 14. Children 5 and under are free.

You cannot take pictures on the tour.

NOTE - I've been on this tour twice. LOVE IT!

Mercedes Benz Plant (Vance, Alabama) - Experience the star-studded history of Daimler-Benz, the world's premier automobile manufacturer. The story is chronicled in the Mercedes-Benz Visitor Center, the first of its kind outside Germany. This architectural showcase, adjacent to Daimler's only U.S. automobile manufacturing plant, brings to life the company's vision... to produce nothing less than the most exceptional automobiles in the world.

Much more than a museum, the Visitor Center's exhibits propel people down a multimedia path through the past, present and future of automotive technology.

Plant Tours are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m. and 12:45 p.m. The tour fee is $5 per guest.

Advance reservations are recommended. Please call 205-507-2252.

The Visitor Center Museum is closed on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and there is no admission fee for the Visitor Center Museum.

Steel City Pops (Homewood, Alabama) Kids can watch the pops being made. However, there are no samples. It is a cool treat to watch their two freezing machines. Call 205-969-8770 for more information.

Peanut Depot (Birmingham, Alabama) - The tour is free, but the peanuts are not. For more information, call 205-251-3314.

Have a great Thursday evening. I'll be back tomorrow with Weekend Happenings. (No. Really. I will!)

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


The Enchanting Belinda

This is my "I'm sorry the post is so late" smile! (It's very similar to my "Please come back later" smile.)

Good Thursday morning!

Actually, I'm not late... YET!

But I will be if I post right now.

So I'm going to post around 1:00 this afternoon.

I hope you don't mind... and I hope you'll come back for a visit later today.


The Enchanting Belinda

This is my "Please come back later" smile!

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