Monday, October 29, 2012

Mindless Monday, Horseshoe Blessings Tradition, Blog Linkage, If I Could Turn Back Time

Good Monday morning!

I was outside ALL WEEKEND LONG! It was cool. It was brisk. It was invigorating. I'm feeling very Pooh-like today!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I spent a couple of hours Saturday taking pictures of my beautiful niece, Katie. Katie is a Senior this year, and she wants pictures taken in different outfits in different locales to commemorate this special time in her life.

I am an Aunt who loves to take pictures... in the Fall... of anyone, anything, everything!

Put those things together, and you have a very happy Enchanting Belinda.

While I am not in any way, shape or form a professional photographer, Katie was happy with some of Saturday's pics... and if Katie's happy, Aunt Belinda is happy, too.

Our next location is Morris Avenue/Railroad Park. Katie will be sporting navy blue sweaters and scarves, as well as her Roll Tide clothing.

We'll finish off our three-location photo series with "the chair in the middle of the field wearing a feminine dress and cowboy boots" at a place called Turkey Creek (Katie's suggestion).

I can't wait.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Yesterday, my cousin, Amy, and I took Roxie and Monica to Six Flags to celebrate their 16th birthdays. (They were born just a few days apart.)

It was overcast, blustery and very cool (my favorite kind of day EVER), and we had a blast.

For some reason, the crowd was low (even though it was the last day the park would be open for the year). We waited for rides, but not for any great length of time. We walked into the little restaurants around the park for lunch and dinner and sat down INSIDE to eat (almost immediately).

We had a hot chocolate on the way back to the parking lot at 8:00 p.m. (Alabama time) and headed home.

We were tired, but very satisfied.

Did you notice how I got the roller coaster in the background? Did you?

Pretty good, huh?

One of my favorite rides EVER at Six Flags Over Georgia... The Runaway Mine Cars. The ride has a new name now, but several decades ago, it was known as The Runaway Mine Cars... and I'm sticking with that one!

Check out the photo bomber in this shot. (I'll take my nephew, Zac, jumping in my pictures over this guy any time!)

This guy takes Buford Buzzard's place during the fall months at Six Flags. He's just as "mean-spirited" as Buford... which is why I never sit on any bench within 100 yards of this spot.

I'm much too sensitive and insecure to take a direct hit from Buford OR Mr. Grumpy.

Just for the record, Amy and I rode Batman. As I've stated before, I do not have any problem riding roller coasters, Wheelies, etc., etc.

The last four or five years of my amusement park visits, I have found closing my eyes for the entirety of the ride makes it not only less stressful, but almost relaxing. A nice, gentle 180 mph breeze flowing through my hair... 3 Gs of gravity pulling my face all the way back to my ears (giving me that 20-something look once again)... Ah. That's good stuff.

However, when the Batman ride stopped and I opened my eyes, it was a little disconcerting to see everything was upside down.

That's right. I thought we were still upside down because that was the image registering with my brain.

"Amy? Do you think we're upside down right now?"

"Uh, no. But my legs are wobbly."

"But your legs aren't upside down?"

"No. And neither are yours."

"Well, that's good to know."

I started asking myself when I put my head to pillow last night, "Is 51 too old to ride roller coasters? Is it possible Batman is the last roller coaster I'll ever ride? Can I put away my foolish dreams of conquering Superman AND Goliath AND The Hulk at Universal before I die?"

Aging is tricky.

Yes, I may have to put my roller coaster "To-Do" list away... but that gives me more time to pursue my ziplining, dolphin swimmin' and meeting Tom Selleck dreams.

And let's face it. I need much more time for those important things.

A final decision hasn't been made yet, but I'm definitely leaning that way!

Does the Bat Signal look upside to you? Does it?

RANDOMNESS #3 - I FINALLY made Josh text his Guntersville picture to Mikie, who in turn e-mailed it to my computer. FINALLY! But not before Josh deleted ALL of the other Guntersville pictures.

He obviously did not get the "never delete a picture from your camera" gene from me.

Thankfully, the one picture he did save was a good one!

If I Could Turn Back Time - If I could turn back time, I would NEVER tell Austin or Josh they had to change from their superhero garb into "real" clothes before heading to the grocery store or Wal-Mart.

I now know and appreciate the beauty of wearing underwear on the outside of your jeans while sporting a cool terry cloth red or blue towel (pinned to the shoulders of your superhero pajama top) as a flowing cape.

I cared a little too much about what others would think of me as a Mom, and not enough about how much it hurt to take your superhero finery off just to go pick up toilet paper and Pop Tarts.

Would I let them wear underwear on the outside of their pants now (at 21 and 19 years of age)?

No. No, I would not.

But ages two through five... Well, that is really age-appropriate casual wear, and I was too uptight to know it!

Blog Linkage - Please, please go to www.kellehampton.com and read Friday's post entitled "Easy Pumpkin Carving Party." She threw a surprise Pumpkin Carving Party together in two hours for her daughter, Lainey... and it was beautiful.

Horseshoe Blessings Tradition

I read this in this November's issue of Southern Living. It was written by Ruth Graham Lotz, daughter of Bill Graham.

"Over the years, our Thanksgiving has become like a family reunion. My father, Billy Graham, has 5 children, 19 grandchildren and 40-something great-grandchildren. Thanksgiving has grown so large - last year we had 70 people, and that wasn't even all of us - he has the feast catered so the burden won't fall on anyone.

"After dinner, we set chairs in a horseshoe and put Daddy in the middle. Each person shares something they're thankful for, a blessing they experienced in the past year. Not just the adults, but the kids, too. If we finish eating at 2, we might be there until 4:30.

"After the last shared blessing, someone reads Psalm 100, and then Daddy closes with prayer. Sometimes he prays with more energy, like he's preaching. But now that Mother is gone - she passed in 2007 - it seems more reflective.

"When he's praying, it's like he has one foot in Heaven. It's like we have a link, like we're overhearing a conversation between Daddy and God. And, to borrow from Psalm 100, that's a joyful noise."

What a legacy Rev. Graham has made for his family. Oh, how sweet to have a child describe their parent's prayer as "overhearing a conversation between Daddy and God."

My prayer for my family and yours? May we all have more traditions like this one in our own families.

Have a magnificent Monday. I'll be back Friday with more Thanksgiving "things." Is it just me, or do the Fall months have a way of slipping through your fingers before you know it. (Kind of like kids!)

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, October 26, 2012

Weekend Happenings, Peach Blueberry Upside-Down Cake, Ham Quiche (AGAIN), If I Could Turn Back Time, Blog Linkage, Quotable Quotes

Good Friday morning!

Say good-bye to 80 degree weather, Baby! It's going to be 60 tomorrow, and I'm more than a little excited about the cooler temps.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Mike returned home from Denver, Colorado Wednesday evening around 9:33 p.m. And I was thrilled to see him. Things aren't the same when he isn't home.

From all of his wanderings around Denver, he took three pictures.

The first picture was from a restaurant called Sam's #3. It was a photo of a half eaten breakfast burrito.

The second picture was a bright blue cup of water with the words "Sam's #3" emblazoned upon it.

And the third and final picture...

Well, it's clearly a picture of a three- or four-story sized bear looking in a window of the Convention Center.

Cool, but just a little unnerving, too.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Roxie had some work done at the dentist yesterday.

As you can see, Post-Dental Procedure is not the best look for Roxie.

She said she's not going to the dentist ever again. Heavy, heavy sigh.

I don't know about you, but I'm SO looking forward to six months from yesterday when she actually does go to the dentist again.

Good times. Good times.

RANDOMNESS #3 - The Gardendale Civic Center was the place to be yesterday. The Merry Marketplace (which benefits Just Keep Smiling) was a great place to visit, shop for Christmas gifts, eat dinner AND help a worthy cause.

I cannot show you everything I purchased (because some people will see their Christmas gifts), but here are a couple of things I picked up.

This is a picture frame I bought for my niece, Katie. I'm going to use one of her Senior pictures and give it to her for her birthday in January. (Shhh. She doesn't read the blog, but it is still a secret.)

I bought this scarf for my Mom, and I'll give it to her in the next few days. My Mom is all about "light-weight."

And even though the cross looks pretty "substantial," it is as light as a feather. It's pretty, isn't it?

If you didn't get to go this year, I highly recommend you make the trip next year. (I'll remind you when the time gets a little closer!)

If I Could Turn Back Time - This one is on my mind quite often... Especially when I see a baby or toddler. While I FULLY believe in God's perfect timing, I'm such a control freak I would have tried so hard to make this one happen if I could go back in time. (I'm not proud of that, by the way.)

If I could turn back time, I would insist Mike Faulkner start dating me when we were 23... marry me when I was 24... and we would have had our first baby at 26.

Instead, because of his desire to date anyone and everyone in a skirt at Shades Mountain Baptist before settling down, we started dating at 25 (at my suggestion) and married at 26 (at his suggestion).

That put us a full three years behind the "Four Babies by 35 Plan" I had meticulously written out (and framed) 15 years earlier.

That's right. If I could turn back time, I would now be living the life of a 51 year-old mother with two 20-somethings and TWO teenagers.

Come to think about it, Mike Faulkner is brilliant. Brilliant, I tell you.

(And in this specific scenario, it is a good thing I cannot turn back time!)

Quotable Quotes - Ah. A Swedish proverb to start our weekend...

"Worry gives small things a big shadow."

True, true, true!

Blog Linkage - Okay, Girls. Get busy and blog hop a little this morning.

1. Go to Confessions of a Pioneer Woman under My Blog List and click on Photography at the top of her page. Read the October 24 post entitled "Take a Picture With Your Honey," and then do it!

The more you take, the better.

2. If you're planning a Halloween party in the next few days, go to Six Sisters' Stuff under My Blog List and read today's post entitled "31 Halloween Party Ideas." You might find something new to add to your party plans.

Ham Quiche (AGAIN)

I posted this recipe MANY, MANY moons ago, but I made it last night and I remembered how easy, simple and delicious the dish was... and I thought I would post it one more time.

You will need the following:

2 deep dish pie shells
2 cups shredded cheese
2 cups half and half
1 tablespoon chives
2 teaspoons onion salt
1/2 teaspoon curry
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 to 1 cup ham (I use thin sliced sandwich ham.)

1. Preheat over to 375 degrees.

2. Poke holes into the bottom of the pie crust.

3. Add 1 cup of shredded cheese to the bottom of each pie crust.

4. Microwave half and half, chives, onion salt, curry and salt for 2 minutes.

5. Add eggs and ham. Mix.

6. Pour into pie shells.

7. Bake 30 minutes. Put a sheet of aluminium foil on top of the quiche. Bake 10 to 12 minutes more. (A knife will come out of the center of the quiche clean when it is done.)

So good. Serve with a salad or fruit... or both.

Peach Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

I found this recipe in a Southern Living Magazine and tried it last night.

You will need the following:


2 (7 ounce) packages Martha White Blueberry Cheesecake Muffin Mix
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon almond extract


1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups peeled, sliced peaches (fresh or frozen without sugar), thawed

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Melt butter in a 10" cast iron skillet.

2. Remove from heat. Stir in brown sugar and spread evenly.

3. Arrange peaches, overlapping in one layer.

In hindsight, I should have overlapped more!

4. Combine muffin mix, milk, butter and almond extract in medium bowl. Stir until blended. Pour batter over peaches in skillet.

5. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Remove from oven. Loosen edges of cake. Place serving plate on top of skillet. CAREFULLY invert cake onto plate. Serve warm.

If this was a gymnastics event, the announcer would say, "She didn't stick her dismount!"

Since this is a cooking event, I will simply say, "I didn't stick my dismount... and my peaches kind of slid off the cake."

Oh, well. If at first you don't succeed, bake, bake again!

It tasted really good, by the way.

Weekend Happenings

It's going to be a fun, fun FALL weekend around here... but we're all going to be having fun in different places, I'm afraid.

Friday - Roxie is having a buddy over to spend the night. She'll be happy. The rest of us are "hangin' around." Well, except for Austin. He will be at JSU getting ready for his internship duties tomorrow.

Saturday - Melia and family are tailgating at Jacksonville and spending time with The Boy. I'm taking some Senior pictures of my niece, Katie, at the Botanical Gardens. (This is one of four locations we'll be taking pictures over the next few weeks!)

I'm no expert, but I think Katie's beautiful enough to overcome my less-than-professional photography skills.

Mikie and Josh are doing the football watchin' thing Saturday. They will be happy.

Sunday - Everyone is going to church... except me and The Chick. Roxie and I are going to meet Monica and Amy for a quick day-trip to Atlanta to spend the day at Six Flags with the girls for their 16th birthdays. (They were born just a few days apart, and we always try to do something special to celebrate their big day.)

The older they get and the busier they get, the harder it is to find a "day" to celebrate... But Amy and I are determined (and so are the girls)!

Have a cool, breezy weekend. I'll be back Monday with "Katie" pics, Six Flags pics, a Seasonal Tradition from Billy Graham's daughter and everything in between.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mindless Monday, If I Could Turn Back Time, Annual SEC Stadium Tradition, French Bread Pizzas

Good Monday morning!

I'm starting the blog off with a picture of Mikie. He left yesterday for a short conference in Colorado, and I'm missing him.

That being said, I hope he has a great time and comes home on time... or earlier than expected!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Since we were not going to be able to go on a Fun Fall Ride this weekend, Mike took me back to the Sibyl Temple in Vestavia for a lovely little picnic Friday.

It fit my mood.

This is the little picnic area at the Temple. There is plenty of shade and the nearby bathroom is immaculate. (This is known as VII... Very Important Information!)

Just between you and me... I think my eyes were closed in this picture, but my hair looked great, so I decided to use it anyway.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Roxie and her friend, Austin, went to The Great Pumpkin Patch in Hayden and picked out pumpkins Saturday afternoon.

I've always known Roxie looks good sitting by a pumpkin...

And I've always known Roxie could pick out the perfect pumpkin...

But I had no idea she was such an expert at pumpkin carving. (Can you tell it's a hoot owl? Can you?)

RANDOMNESS #3 - JSU had an early game Saturday morning. That probably means nothing to you, but at Faulkner Farms (circa 1842) it means The Boy comes home late Saturday afternoon instead of Sunday morning.

This particular Saturday evening, Melia had invited Austin to a "jazz concert thing." (His words. Not Melia's.)

When he called to get more information about the evening's events, Melia told him it was semi-formal.

No problem. He opted for a shirt and tie look.

When he asked what time they needed to arrive "at the program" for seating, Melia told him the event was a little more "interactive" than just sitting.

They were going to a dance... And not just a dance, but a swing dance.

Melia and I were much more excited about the "event" than Austin... initially.

I knew he would get into the "swing" part of the evening after a good dinner. (And he did.)

Austin thought the Captain America glasses added a little something extra.

Austin was wrong.

Then he decided to try a "confident" look.

Wrong again.


RANDOMNESS #4 - Melia and Austin decided to try their hands at carving pumpkins Sunday afternoon.

Let the carving begin!

The Lovely Melia may (or may not) be a little TOO comfortable with large, sharp knives. Just sayin'.

Austin quickly became the go-to guy for "pumpkin gut scraping." (I would rather change 20 poopy diapers in a row than scrape the guts out of one pumpkin.)

I'm fearless that way.

I think it is pretty clear Melia's pumpkin carving is a "Mighty M."

Austin's may be a little bit harder to guess, so I'm just going to tell you.

It's Iron Man.

Do you see it?

RANDOMNESS #5 - Is it just me, or does everyone start strutting a little whenever they hear "Play That Funky Music" by Wild Cherry over the intercom system at the grocery story?

What about "Cause She's a Brick House?"

Just me?

Okay. Forget I said anything.

If I Could Turn Back Time - I would kneel down eye-level and listen ATTENTIVELY to each story, question and "important-to-a-kid" informational nugget ever spoken by my kids from the time they started talking until middle school (when they became more selective about what came out of their mouths).

Dishes would not distract me.

Laundry would not distract me.

Dinner prep would not distract me.

Dust would not distract me.

I would be a walking "ear" for anything my kids felt the need to share.

Yes. I listened to my kids when they were younger. But if I could turn back time, I would most definitely listen MORE.

French Bread Pizzas

The kids and I made these Sunday after Mikie left. And we'll be making them again and again and again.

You will need the following:

2 loaves of French bread
2 jars pizza sauce
Toppings (pepperoni, Canadian bacon, green peppers, onion, pineapple, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, etc.
2 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded)

1. Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees.

2. Cut the french bread in half length-wise. Put the halves on a cookie sheet open faced.

3. Spread pizza sauce on each side.

4. Add your favorite toppings.

5. Top each half with 1/2 cup cheese.

6. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Maybe I misread the kids' reaction to their individually-made pizzas, but I think our "delivery pizza" days are OVER.

Mikie is going to be SO happy.

Oh. Did I mention I got this recipe from Pinterest? Or did you already know that?

Annual SEC Stadium Tradition

Seven years ago this month, Josh told Mike he wanted to visit every SEC Stadium before he graduated high school.

Of course, he wanted to attend the SEC Stadium when Auburn and the other school were playing football.

Mike and Josh decided to extend the "before I graduate high school" timeline to once a year until they "got it done."

No pressure.

Only 14 years of looking forward to an annual tradition and completing a goal together!

Mike and Josh continued their tradition this past Saturday In Nashville (Auburn/Vanderbilt) and except for the losing thing, they had a really good time.

They have seven more stadiums to visit including Alabama (Iron Bowl). It's been a fun tradition, and one I would recommend to any college football lovin' family.

I have a fun fact for you. The Vanderbilt Stadium is the smallest of all SEC Stadiums.

Very cozy!

Have a terrific Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I'll be back FRIDAY MORNING with another mesmerizing post about all things autumnal... and 100 or so pictures of Mikie's return.

Take care, and I'll talk to you at the end of the week.


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, October 19, 2012

Weekend Happenings, Blog Linkage, Crock Pot Cheesy Ravioli, If I Could Turn Back Time

Good Friday morning!

We've got a lot of "stuff" to cover, so let's get busy!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Roxie played in her last JV Volleyball Game of the season Monday night against Curry.

That's right.

I said Curry.

"Where is Curry?" you might ask.

I have no idea, but I'm thankful for the people I followed to the school during the daylight hours and the WONDERFUL woman I followed HOME in the dark.

Friday's post is dedicated to them, because if they had not helped me, The Big Gold Van and a carload of JV and Varsity Volleyball chicks would probably be on the side of a lonely, country road right now waiting for a Big Gold Van Rescue Team.

Not to say it wouldn't have been fun, but leaving Gardendale at 1:30 p.m. on a Monday and successfully returning HOME to Gardendale at 8:45 p.m. on the same Monday night is a good time, too!

She gets her "I'm going to kill this ball" stance from me.

I stand like this all the time.

And she gets the "duck walk" from her Dad.

Just so you know, Kennedy not only looked ready... She WAS ready. This ended well. Very, very well.

If I had a ponytail, I would play sports, too. All kinds of sports.

And I would rock a sporty chick ponytail.

This is our Kelci. She (and her family) belong to The Faulkner Five. She plays on Varsity, and Varsity won AREA CHAMPS last night. That means they go on to the next tournament.

And I have a feeling they're going to win that one, too.

This concludes the 2012 portion of The JV Volleyball Season. Get ready for basketball pics... and lots of them.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I took a little nature walk from The Big Gold Van to the back door of Faulkner Farms (circa 1842) this morning, and these are just some of the sights I saw...

We have 13,000,000 acorns in our front yard.

I'm not exaggerating.

I counted them all.

I love how this little tree is ever so S-L-O-W-L-Y turning red... one branch at a time.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Mikie's going out of town this weekend. He's leaving Sunday afternoon for a conference in Colorado.

I'm staying here.

Although it may appear to the innocent bystander I have a really good attitude about it... not so much.

I'll keep the home fires burning, but don't expect me to be happy about it!

I'm posting this picture so we will not forget what Mikie looks like while he is gone.

RANDOMNESS #4 - I know you're asking yourself, "If Mike is going out of town Sunday, how are they going to take their weekly Fun Fall Ride?"

Good question.

Fortunately, Mike thought about it, too. He called and invited me on a rare Friday picnic to eat fried chicken and soak in all of the Fall goodness before he gets on a plane Sunday.

And I accepted.

Guess where we're going?

That's right. The Temple has a beautiful picnic area.

I'll take some pictures of the picnic area, and maybe you and yours can plan a picnic there soon.

RANDOMNESS #5 - As of today, I have 1,917 pins on my boards on Pinterest.

As of today, I have tried 64 recipes/ideas/tips.

I think there's something wrong with those two numbers!

If I Could Turn Back Time - I've been thinking about a new topic to talk about over the next few weeks, and it came to me a couple of days ago.

I'm kind of/sort of at the point in my life where I can look back over 21 years of parenting, and think of some things I would do differently if I started over today.

This topic will only be beneficial to starting out moms, but...

If I could turn back time, I would read my Bible and do my daily Bible devotions IN FRONT of my kids more often... instead of "before they wake up."

I know kids can be a distraction, but between you and me, it is so true that children learn much more by watching how a parent lives their day-to-day Christian life than by being told how to live it.

I have no data or poll information, so please don't ask me to support my findings.

Can you tell I've been watching too many debates lately?

Blog Linkage - Go to The Dating Divas under My Blog List and read today's post entitled "Rockin' Review Paging Supermom." I believe I'll be visiting the "Paging Supermom" blog again and again.

Crock Pot Cheesy Ravioli

I found this recipe on Pinterest and made it Wednesday night for dinner after church.

You will need the following:

1 large jar of pasta sauce (about 50 ounces)
1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
1 can of Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 bag frozen cheese ravioli (25 ounces)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.

2. In a separate bowl, combine pasta sauce, tomatoes, cheese soup and garlic. Mix well.

3. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce into the slow cooker.

4. Top with 1/3 of ravioli.

5. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of each cheese.

6. Repeat twice.

7. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours.

While Mikie said it was "okay," Josh and Roxie liked it very much, so I probably will save it for a teenager/company dish.

Weekend Happenings

Okay. Here is our weekend in a nutshell.

Friday - Roxie is going to the high school football game with friends. Mike and I are going shirt shopping. Austin is working on his internship at JSU. Josh wants to watch a movie with his Dad after our shopping trip.

Saturday - Mike and Josh are continuing their annual tradition of watching Auburn play at a different SEC Stadium each and every year until they have been to ALL of the SEC Stadiums. (They are heading to Nashville early in the morning!) Roxie is sleeping very, very late, and then we're going shopping and "Grandmother visiting" before she gets together with some friends. Austin is working on his internship at JSU, but will be home late Saturday evening.

Sunday - We're all going to church. Mike is leaving for Colorado in the afternoon. Josh is playing football with some new friends. Roxie is napping. Austin and Melia are carving pumpkins on the back deck. (I will be taking pictures of Melia and Austin carving pumpkins on the back deck.)

And that's it, Guys. A typical October weekend at Faulkner Farms!

Have a lovely weekend. I'll be back Monday morning with stories, pictures and hopefully, some FUN FALL FAMILY IDEAS.

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


The Enchanting Belinda
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