Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Backyard Camping Party (Originally Posted October 20, 2008)

Good Wednesday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I didn't say anything yesterday because I wanted to make sure it really happened... Roxie was asked to play during the Varsity volleyball game last night. (JV didn't have a scheduled game.) She's still on the JV team, but it was an honor to play on Varsity, too.

I've included a few volleyball pics of her and friends doing the exact same thing as always... but wearing the Varsity gray jersey!

Kaitlyn was asked to play in the Varsity game, too... and it was her birthday... and she was really, really happy!

See? Just like Saturday's pics... only grayer.

This is our sweet friend, Kelci. You probably remember her from the 10,000 or so pictures I posted from last season.

Kaitlyn, Mary Allison, Taylor, Roxie and Kelci. (Mary Allison and Taylor are FANS! They play basketball and softball, but they support their volleyball buddies, too.)

RANDOMNESS #2 - I want to make sure EVERYTHING is about Roxie today! (She hates when I do that.) After the game last night, Mikie, Roxie and I drove to Oneonta to pick up her new-to-her car. Her 16th birthday isn't until September 25, but Mikie found Big Red a little early, and it fit our criteria.

Don't worry. She will NOT be driving the car "early."

Pretty spiffy, isn't it?

I'm not certain, but I think Mikie is getting all the "car" credit. Hmmm. I'll have to do something about that.

REMINDER! REMINDER! REMINDER! - Okay. I've decided on the fate of A Simple Life. After four years of blogging and soon-to-be 1,000 posts, A Simple Life will become a twice-weekly blog which will contain a little bit of everything I love (pictures, randomness, dates, ways to embarrass your 16 year-old daughter, recipes, traditions, parties, etc.).

This new format will begin Monday, September 3, 2012!

I think I'm going to have to ease out of blogging a little more slowly. It's been a big part of my life for the past four years, and I don't think I'm going to be able to stop "cold turkey" as I originally had hoped.

So when August is over and done, I hope you'll still come visit on Mondays and Fridays for awhile.

I'll still be here! (I'm just going to semi-retire!)

CONTEST! CONTEST! CONTEST! - This is my 998th post for A Simple Life. The countdown continues!

The Contest will be simple. The rules are as follows:

Beginning today, leave your NAME followed by the word "CONTEST" in the Comment Section of A Simple Life, e-mail me ( or go to my Facebook page.

You can enter the Contest ONCE A DAY (each and every day including Saturdays AND Sundays) until Thursday, August 30 at midnight. (Your name could be put into the drawing bowl a total of 2 times between now and Thursday, August 30!)

I will write my 1,000th post Friday morning, August 31.

I will draw from a HUGE BOWL of names, and a winner will be announced the morning of Friday, August 31.

The winner will receive a $15 Gift Certificate to one of the following restaurants:

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

It will be Winner's Choice!

If you win and you live somewhere other than Alabama, you will win a $15 VISA Gift Card!

"May the odds be ever in your favor!"

(I'm going to be saying that for the next 2 POSTS!)

NEW THING! NEW THING! NEW THING! - I'm going to post one of my favorite posts each day from the past four years until August 31.

AUTUMN NUT - Originally Posted October, 2008

(Originally written October, 1997) I am the original "Autumn Nut." I love the way the light comes through my living room windows at 4:00 in the afternoon.

Fall Picture #1 - Candlelit fall dinners.

I love the way the squirrels throw huge hickory nuts at me as I run with Roxie in my arms to my van.

Fall Picture #2 - Bonfires.

I love raking up huge piles of leaves and letting my boys jump in them (and when I think my neighbors aren't paying attention, I've been known to take a leap or two myself).

Fall Picture #3 - Pumpkins.

I love the smell of cool, brisk autumnal air.

Fall Picture #4 - Acorn chunking.

I love the word "autumnal."

Fall Picture #5 - College football games.

I love gray days because the colors of the leaves are so vivid against the sky.

Fall Picture #6 - Mums.

I love wearing sweaters as opposed to bathing suits (for all the apparent reasons).

Fall Picture #7 - Pumpkin scented candles.

I even fell in love with Mikie in autumn. (Of course, being the typical male, he didn't fall in love with me until the following spring.)

Fall Picture #8 - Long Sunday car rides looking at leaves with Mikie.

Why have I bored you with an essay of all my favorite things? I have in recent years learned a very important lesson from my obsession with all things autumnal.

For a long period of time in my life, I trudged through the long summer months muttering under my breath every morning, "I can't wait until the leaves start to turn." I wasted many beautiful summer days longing for something not promised to me in the future. And then when autumn finally appeared, I was so worried about it lasting for such a short time that instead of enjoying its beauty, I found myself dreading the end of a day because it meant we were that much closer to the end of MY season.

What turned me around? What made me see the beauty in every season of my life? What catastrophic event turned the original "Autumn Nut" into someone who was capable of enjoying a 99 degree summer day?

Well, it was one of those passages of scripture we've all heard since the first day we walked into a church. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a season for every event under heaven."

I first used this scripture in my own life dealing with the doldrums that can set in with working and stay-at-home moms. The mundane routines of everyday life can easily fall into a "season."

There are the enormous amounts of laundry, meals to prepare, car pooling, runny noses, temper fits in Wal-Mart, sticking your finger in the back of the baby's diaper and acting surprised when there is actually something in there (WHY DO WE DO THAT?), annoying telephone calls from solicitors, large, gaping holes in brand new pairs of pantyhose that you throw on as you're walking out the door on the way to a worship service, a slip that is doing exactly what the name implies and is down around your ankles before you notice (and by that time, you really don't care anymore), and lest any of us forget, the signature baby URP on the shoulder of your new black suede dress that no one feels the need to mention until you ask, "What is that smell?" and they quickly point out it's you.

I guess what I'm trying to say in my own simple way is I don't want to miss any of my seasons by being so caught up in the stresses of everyday life. I want to experience the joys of autumn all year long.

What I've determined to do is enjoy some part of my "season" each and every day. I don't want to miss the winters, springs and summers of my life because I am so focused on getting to the autumns.

I don't want to wake up one day and the kids are gone, the house is neat and clean, the laundry hamper is empty and then realize what a beautiful time of my life I hurried through. What a waste that would be!)

I think Paul said it best in his letter to the Philippian church, "...for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am." (Philippians 4:11). What a wonderful thing to strive for... contentment in the winter, spring, summer and autumn seasons of our lives.

Well, I have to finish up this little article now. There are noses to wipe, laundry to do, beds to make, kids to take to school, kids to pick up from school, supper to prepare (chili and cornbread, of course), and I noticed something an odd "autumnal" color in the refrigerator I think I need to investigate. (It's truly amazing how many times you can use that word if you really apply yourself!)

But I think I'll take a few minutes to slip out on my back deck and feel the cool, refreshing breeze on my face, watch the squirrels chase each other and enjoy the beautiful yellow, red and orange leaves falling at my feet while sipping warm cider out of my new pumpkin mug (Cracker Barrel - $3.99).

Yes, autumn is by far my favorite season, but winter, spring and summer have their good points, too. You just have to look a little harder!

Wednesday Wisdom - Oh... my... goodness. How true. How true.

"The choice before us is plain... Christ or chaos, conviction or compromise, discipline or disintegration. I am rather tired of hearing about our rights and privileges as American Citizens. The time is come, it now is, when we ought to hear about the duties and responsibilities of our citizenship. America's future depends upon Her accepting and demonstrating God's Government." Peter Marshall

Backyard Camping Party (Boys or Girls)

This was the very FIRST Party I ever posted on A Simple Life. It is still one of my favorites.

Every fall and/or late spring we set up our tent in the backyard. I usually look for a long weekend because if the weather is good, you can sometimes have two campouts with two different sets of children. On Friday night, I may have my little girl and two or three of her buddies come over, and on Sunday night after church, I will let one of my sons have several of his buddies over. The tent stays pitched until everyone has had a chance to have their own camp out.

What you will need:

Laptop computer (for movies in the tent)
Sleeping bags, pillows, blankets (each child brings their own)
Flashlights (each child brings their own)
Popcorn (Jiffy Pop over the stove for old-fashioned fun)
Cooler with water bottles set out in the tent (less damage with spills)
Crockpot hot dogs
S'mores (make these in the oven before you go outside for the camp out)
Banana Boats (make these in the oven before you go outside for the camp out)

Have everyone arrive around 6:00 or 6:30. By the time everyone sets up their gear in the tent, eats dinner inside or on the deck, makes s'mores, fixes the popcorn and changes into their PJs, it will be close to 8:00. Once the kids are in the tent, let them watch their movie (not too scary or you'll be out in the tent all night with them).

When the movie is over around 10:00, if your husband is game, load the kids up in the van with their pajamas on and make a milkshake run to a local Sonic or Arby's for a fun surprise.

When they arrive home, let the kids come inside to brush their teeth, take a bathroom break, etc. Escort them to the tent giving them the "rules." We always tell them to stay in the tent unless they are coming inside the house. The door to our bedroom opens to the back deck and stays unlocked. We also keep the flood lights on so they can see easily when they leave the tent. They can come back into the house through our room, and I know when and if they are up and moving around. I set up comforters and blankets in the den off of our bedroom so if they decide they cannot sleep outside, they can make their bed on one of the sofas. So far, they've always stayed outside.

For the older guys, the same rules apply. However, since they are a little "braver" than the younger girls, I do set the alarm for 1:00 a.m. just to check and make sure everyone is accounted for and sleeping.

The next morning, we have eggs, bacon and biscuits. Depending on the weather, these can be served on the deck. Moms come to pick up the happy, but tired, campers around 10:00 a.m.

Since all the meals are being served outside on the deck or picnic style, there is little or no clean up inside the house. Also, all of the bedding goes home with the other children.

Just do a little dustbusting in the tent for the next camp out.

We've had up to three camp outs in one week during Spring Break, and it worked out well all three times. All of the kids had multiple friends over, with minimal mess and everyone had a lot of fun.

Although we camp in State Parks once or twice each year, the backyard camp outs are fun because they are easy spend-the-night-parties. While we usually like to just take family on the camping trips (or meet other families at the campground), this allows the kids to have their friends over to enjoy one of their favorite things.

Have a grand ol' Wednesday. I'll be back tomorrow with Blog Linkage and a Date, an oldie, pictures, Reminders, etc.

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


The Enchanting Belinda


  1. Not trying to be mean...but whoever was holding the cream filled donut in your header picture needs a bit of "man"-icure. Bad pun, I know. Those bitten cuticles and chewed nails are crying for attention. Sorry, but I'm one of those people who sees the little things in life.

    1. I totally agree! That would be Austin... although Josh's nails look very similar. (The "man"icure might be a stocking stuffer for Christmas! Hmmm?)

  2. Contest!

    Wow - after reading the above I had to go back and see the hands and Wow - wish I hadn't.

  3. I will admit... I was only looking at the doughnut, too. However, because I'm a "pleaser" by nature, I've edited the picture one more time.

    No visible fingernails!

    I'll try to look at the WHOLE picture next time, but with Krispy Kreme, it's hard.

    You're entered again, Jennifer. You've got a lot of chances to win!

  4. Good editing. Unfortunately, I often look at the hands of the people who serve me food. I once went to Subway and right before the guy was going to make my sandwich he scratched his nose and then proceeded to pick up my bread - sans gloves. STOP I yelled (yes yelled). I pointed out to him the offense; he looked at me like I was nuts, but once I explained my fears, he shrugged his shoulders, put on gloves and went for new bread. Gotta watch people.

  5. There won't be any "man"icures at the Faulkner house!!!

    1. Okay. Okay, Mikie. I didn't mean to touch a nerve.

      I'll just keep editing hand pictures!

  6. So glad you will still be posting in September!!
    Andrea in WA.

    1. Yea! I didn't know where you were Andrea! It's good to hear from you again.

      Yep. I'll still be posting on Mondays and Fridays.

      Let me know how you're doing!


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