Monday, September 24, 2012

Mindless Monday, Easy Caramel Frosting, A Different Taco Soup, What I Have Learned About Ovarian Cancer

Good Monday morning!

Today is the second official day of FALL. I love that about today! And in honor of all things FALL, I want to share some pictures I took Friday afternoon when Mikie surprised me with a late lunch date. That's right. He surprised me. And I made him stop by Leaf N Petals in Mountain Brook because I've been wanting to soak up all of their "pumpkin glory."

This is my "new" favorite pumpkin. It's gray. And I need one badly.

Someone call Mikie and tell him to read today's post.

I wish the front of my house looked like this, but since it doesn't, I'll just keep driving past my favorite nurseries during the months of September and October... and covet.

I have so many things to talk about, so let's get started!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Roxie had an all day volleyball tournament Saturday. Her team played at 8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., noon, 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. They won each and every game until the 3:30 championship game.

And that's when things kind of changed.

They played well, but Clay-Chalkville took home the First Place Trophy... and Gardendale gladly took home the Second Place Trophy.

These are our JV Volleyball Chicks after their first victory at 9:00 a.m. Saturday. We had no idea it was going to be such a long (but fun) day.

In middle school, all of the volleyball players rubbed the bottom of their shoes during the game.

Do not ask me why. I do not know.

In high school, you rarely see a player rub the bottom of their shoe. RARELY.

Except for Roxie. She does it before each and every serve.

I think it's her "thing."

Kaitlyn's feet NEVER touch the ground.

I think that's her "thing."

Roxie and Hailey.

Laci, Mary Allison and Taylor. We call them "The Fan Club."

Is it just me, or do these look like a big ol' pile of white pumpkins?

Roxie and Kaitlyn with The Fan Club.

Two of my favorite volleyball chicks... Roxie and Kennedy.

Who am I kidding? I like them all.

That's not a bad lookin' trophy. Not bad at all!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Roxie doesn't eat many sweets. Other than a bite of vanilla ice cream, an occasional Kit Kat bar and lots and lots of caramel, having a "sweet tooth" as an adult will not be a problem for her.

When it came time to decide what kind of cake I needed for Roxie's Sweet 16, it was an easy decision. Caramel.

When it came time to decide how to decorate the cake, it was much, much harder.

But then it hit me!

Although Roxie's birthday is officially September 25 (Tuesday), we had her family party on September 23. The first official day of Fall.

So I made Roxie an Autumnal Sweet 16 Birthday Cake.

Yes, I did.

And the first thing she said when she saw it...

"This cake would be perfect for your birthday, Mom."

So it took a little explaining, but she grew to understand the significance of having an Autumnal Sweet 16 Birthday Cake on the official first day of Fall.

And it was caramel, so she was happy.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Roxie's family birthday party was a lot of fun. I'm going to let the pics tell the story.

All that was missing from Roxie's cap collection was a blue cap. Melia took care of that!

And one of Grandmother's gifts was a new scarf for Roxie in beautiful autumnal colors. I would take it in a heartbeat, but unfortunately, The Chick likes the scarf.

Aunt Bev added a little Gigi's to her gift. We still haven't eaten this Auburn cupcake because we are almost positive it will leave us with blue teeth. Almost positive.

Remember the days of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" and Scavenger Hunts? When you turn 16, the entertainment includes letting the birthday girl (or guy) take guests on a little drive around the neighborhood... with a parent in the backseat.

Personally, I miss "Pin the Tail on the Donkey."

I love autumn light. Austin, Roxie and Melia.

The babies of the family. Roxie and Zac.

Aunt Bev, Roxie and Uncle Tommy.

Grandma, Roxie and Grandpa.

She's a Daddy's Girl... which is a very good thing.

Believe it or not, I have more pictures... but no more time. (I'll definitely have them in Friday's post.)

RANDOMNESS #4 - What I Have Learned About Ovarian Cancer - I left you Friday with some facts about Ovarian Cancer. Today, I will continue telling Mom's story.

In May of 2011, Mom went for her regular check-up. It was at that time her doctor discovered the cancer. As I stated before, my Mom was not sick. She was living an active life. She was not in pain. She had bloating and she was more tired than usual, but neither of those "symptoms" raised red flags.

And that is how ovarian cancer works. By the time you have "unusual" symptoms or pain, the cancer has usually spread.

She had exploratory surgery a couple of weeks later, and the cancer was officially diagnosed. She had Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer.

After she recovered from the surgery (five to six weeks), she began chemo treatments. The treatments were scheduled three weeks apart, and except for one of the six treatments, Mom stayed right on schedule.

Except for the cancer, her health was excellent.

She finished her last chemo treatment in November of 2011... and she checked out "cancer-free."

However, with ovarian cancer, it is important to have three-month check-ups for two years after treatment. This cancer reoccurs often, and early detection is vitally important.

Nine months from the end of her first round of chemo, Mom had her third three-month check-up. A pet scan revealed the cancer had returned, and within two weeks, she had a new port put in and began another round of six chemo treatments. This set of treatments is scheduled to finish the week after Christmas... and then she'll begin her three-month check-ups to make sure the cancer doesn't return over the next two years.

Many of the women who have treatments the same day as my Mom are having their second, third, etc. set of chemo treatments for ovarian cancer.

On Friday, I will be sharing the name of the tests used to scan for this cancer, readers' comments and suggestions and websites of two of the organizations in our area raising money and awareness for ovarian cancer.

And maybe, just maybe, because my Mom and others like her are not being quiet, ovarian cancer will not continue to be known as the "silent cancer."

Feel free to share any comments, stories or suggestions in the Comment Section below, via e-mail ( or message me on Facebook (between now and Friday).

Easy Caramel Frosting

This is NOT from Pinterest. I repeat... This is NOT from Pinterest.

I found it on the Internet, and my family liked it. (Five Stars!)

You will need the following:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

1. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat.

2. Add brown sugar and milk. Bring to a boil.

3. Stir constantly to dissolve sugar.

4. Remove from heat. Cool.

5. Beat confectioners' sugar into milk mixture until smooth.

This is the icing I used on Roxie's cake. It is thick and sweet and easy to work with. I've made it twice so far, and it is wonderful!

A Different Taco Soup

I posted a Taco Soup recipe on the blog YEARS ago, but I tried a new recipe last week that only has one or two little variations from my old recipe. Again, this received Five Stars from The Faulkner Five.

You will need the following:

2 pounds ground chuck
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 1/2 cups water
1 can (16 ounces) mild chili beans (undrained)
1 can (15-1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn (drained)
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomato with green chilies
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix

1. In a Dutch oven, brown ground chuck. Drain.

2. Add taco seasoning and mix well.

3. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

4. Bring to a boil.

5. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

That's it. It is a very hearty, filling, delicious soup!

I realize today's post is a little "Roxie Heavy," but Friday's post will be much better... because I'll be getting ready for Josh's birthday!

Poor Austin!

Have the most wonderful Monday ever. I'll be back FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 with more, more, more.

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


The Enchanting and Fall-Personified Belinda

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