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Monday, December 30, 2013

Mindless Monday, Pinterest Stuff (Hot Chocolate Snowman Gifts, Christmas Eve Family Movie Gift), Quotable Quotes

Good Monday morning!

RANDOMNESS - I must confess, Christmas got me this year. I didn't officially get into the "Christmas spirit" until the Candle and Carol Service our church has every Christmas Eve.

It was a beautiful, still, sweet 40 minutes, and from 4:40 p.m. Christmas Eve until my head hit the pillow Christmas night, I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas.

It wasn't just me.

I talked to several women who said some of the same things and felt the same thing.

I believe it all comes down to one thing... Simplify Christmas. Celebrate Christ.

And, yes. I found that on Pinterest.

So at 52 years of age, how much more can I simplify Christmas? I've worked on making Christmas special, but not TOO busy for my family over the last 26 years.

Guess what?

It's time to take it to the next level.

I have to ask myself, "What do I truly enjoy doing during the days and weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas?"

And I have to honestly answer myself, too.

1. I love making and sending and receiving Christmas cards. It isn't a chore to me. It is fun.

And, guess what? I understand and accept just because it is one of my favorite parts of Christmas, for others it is overwhelming and it feels chore-like.

That's okay!

2. I have a Cherished Teddy Nativity set, a Cherished Teddy Santa's Workshop set and a Cherished Teddy Santa's Railroad set. Every piece is individually bubble-wrapped and boxed in the original box. There are about 100 pieces.

I love them, but it is overwhelming and it feels chore-like to set up the sets each and every Christmas.

And, guess what? I understand and accept that some people absolutely LOVE setting up their Christmas villages. They even say it is relaxing to them. I am not one of those people.

3. I have always thought there had to be some sort of Christmas decoration in each and every room of the house.

That is too much for me, and it is overwhelming and it feels chore-like to decorate each and every room during Christmas.

And, guess what? I understand and accept that some people love decorating each and every room of their house all year long. It is their passion. I am not one of those people (unfortunately).

4. I love going on Christmas Home Tours (in real life and on certain blogs). I love pretty things, and although my house doesn't look like the other houses, it doesn't stress me out or make me envious.

It is relaxing and fun and I smile throughout the whole tour.

I smile a lot.

5. I like cooking and baking special dishes for each and every party or event I attend. The more, the better. However, I don't particularly enjoy spending an entire day baking Christmas goodies and delivering them to others.

And, guess what? IT'S OKAY! That's not me, but there are others who love it and are GREAT!

NOTE - I am, on the flip-side of this, a fantastic receiver of goodies. Go figure!

I've mentioned the above, because I'm going to be doing some things differently next season.

I'm going to capitalize on my strengths, and not let my weaknesses get me down.

I'm going to breathe.

I'm going to simplify Christmas...

And celebrate Christ!

Pinterest Stuff

1. Roxie made these for some of her friends for Christmas... straight from Pinterest, and oh, so cute.


In case you cannot tell, the bottom jar is filled with peppermints, the middle jar is filled with hot chocolate mix and the top jar is filled with mini marshmallows.

2. This is for a Christmas Eve Movie Night. If I had started the tradition when the kids were younger, it might have worked around here, but in order to have a more simple Christmas, I decided to tweak the "Christmas Eve" part of the idea to make it work better for our family "next time."



According to Pinterest, on Christmas Eve you set a wrapped box (or in my case, giant bag) in the middle of the floor.

What's inside the box? A pair of Christmas pajama pants for everyone in the family...


A Christmas movie and individual popcorn bowls (with individual microwave popcorn snack packs)...


Monogrammed tumblers in each person's favorite color...


And plenty of two-liter drinks.


Pack it, wrap it and when everyone arrives, get comfortable and enjoy a movie together.

As I mentioned above, I am going to do some major tweaking to make this tradition work for my family.

1. As of tomorrow, I will have a giant solid-colored bag. Not a Christmas bag.

2. As of tomorrow, I will have comfortable and lightweight pajama pants for everyone in the family.

3. As of tomorrow, I will have a family-friendly movie ready to be watched.

4. As of tomorrow, when we all just happen to be here with nothing to do, I'll pull the bag out and we'll do our thing.

5. I'm going to plan on taking the giant bag with us whenever we all go on a trip together AND on our Guntersville Lake Vacation.

It can happen in January or July.

It can happen in March or May.

It can happen once a year or four times a year.

I'm going to go with the flow...

And I am not going to plan another special "evening" during the Christmas holidays.

There are special evenings aplenty during the holidays without any more help from me!

Quotable Quotes

"I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I am helpless. I pray because the need falls out of me all the time - walking and sleeping. It does not change God - it changes me." C. S. Lewis

I'll be back Friday with three easy, do-ahead gift ideas for NEXT year AND the fun and easy Christmas party I spoke of yesterday!

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. We opened our Christmas Eve Movie Bag late Christmas night. We enjoyed it, but we were all a bit tired!


Mikie, me, Melia, Austin, Taylor, Roxie and Josh.

In his younger days, Mikie was so much better at getting into the picture before the timer went off. Nowadays... not so much.



Ahhh! Success.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Last Little Bit of Christmas

Good Sunday evening!

Tonight and Monday's posts will mark the end of the 2013 Christmas Season on A Simple Life.

And everyone sang, "Hallelujah!"

RANDOMNESS - Just in case you weren't impressed by the name alone, I am re-posting the recipe for Reindeer Poop below.

And I have pictures!



Several people have asked me if these "cookies" are the same thing as Chocolate Oatmeal Drop Cookies.

The answer would have to be, "No. No, they are not."

They taste like a much-better version of a Little Debbie Star Crunch Snack Cake.

Oh. And they are better on Day Two than Day One, so I highly recommend making them ahead of time.

You will need the following:

4 tablespoons butter
5 ounces mini marshmallows (half a bag)
12 ounces Smucker’s caramel dessert topping
12 ounces Hershey’s milk chocolate chips
5 to 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter.

2. Add marshmallows and stir gently until melted.

3. Turn off heat and add caramel sauce and chocolate chips. Stir until melted.

4. Stir in cereal until combined.

5. Roll the mixture into 1" balls and set on wax paper to cool.

This recipe should make 40 reindeer poops... reindeer poop balls... round chocolate-type cookies.

I will be sharing the following in tomorrow's post:

1. A step-by-step Pinterest Christmas Eve tradition (which I am going to tweak for me and mine to use any night during the year).

2. A Christmas Party idea for kids, teens or adults. Easy, fun AND different.

Have a great night, and I'll talk to you tomorrow afternoon.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. This is a leftover pic of Roxie and Cousin Zac from Christmas Day at Grandmother's.


Believe it or not, Zac's our youngest... and I think he might end up being our tallest before it is said and done.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Little More Christmas

Good Saturday afternoon!

RANDOMNESS - Today I'm going to share some Christmas Day pictures.

Not all.

Some.


Some things changed around here this Christmas...

And some things stayed exactly the same.

The kids kept telling people, "We didn't get a tree from the Christmas Tree Farm this year."

To me, that sounded like I didn't put up a tree at all, and that was not the case.

The Angel Tree was in the usual spot in the house.

The ornaments were exactly the same... the lights were exactly the same... the tree skirt was exactly the same.

And I thoroughly enjoyed my Angel Tree.


I told the kids I wouldn't post Christmas morning photos of them, because even though I am their Mom and I think they are beautiful, I have to admit they are kinda high maintenance in the "Take-My-Picture-in the-Morning" Department.

Very high maintenance.

But these two pics are my favorite each and every year.

Before the kids come into the den Christmas morn...


And after the kids come into the den Christmas morn.


We spend Christmas afternoon with my Mom in Trussville. Our family is growing and so is our "kid" table. It now seats eight comfortably (and the guys like it because it is smack dab in the middle of all of the food).


We opened gifts after lunch, and Stephanie had to leave to attend a different Family Christmas Gathering.


We played Christmas Charades and Christmas Songs Charades for awhile.

Brad's phrase was "Three Wise Men."


I can't remember Roxie's phrase, but it involved a lot of pointing and yelling, "NO! PAY ATTENTION! THAT'S NOT IT!"


I'm not sure why Mikie felt the need to unbutton his shirt to act out "Buddy, the Elf," but for some reason it worked.


And, of course, Katie had "Frosty the Snowman."


Here's another picture of Harold's Boys. Zac, Austin, Josh and Brad.


Roxie and me. For some reason, I had a bad case of "flat hair" all day Christmas.

I know big hair is "out" and flat hair is "in," but being a Chick of the 80s, I feel a little bit better about myself if my hair is somewhere in between big and flat.

Christmas Day, my hair did not deliver.


Melia and Austin. Melia is ROCKIN' the sweater and scarf I gave her Christmas Eve!


Bev and Katie. It doesn't matter if their hair is big or flat. All anyone sees when they look at these two are their enormous eyes.

My eyes are average in size and color.

Yet another reason, I need large hair.


Mom, Bev and me.


They give the word "merry" a whole new meaning, don't they?


Not only do these girls have the hair and the eyes, but now they have the lips, too.


Well, that's it for this rainy Saturday.

I'll finish up my Christmas posts and pics tomorrow afternoon, and maybe, just maybe, we'll get back on a schedule around here.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, December 27, 2013

Where Has the Day Gone?

Good Friday evening!

RANDOMNESS - Since I spoke to you earlier in the week (Monday), Christmas Day has come and gone.

Whew! Christmas 2013 has been a roller coaster ride!

The Christmas Eve Sibling Exchange was the first of the festivities...


Melia received her annual manicure from Josh and Roxie. That will come in handy in 2014... The Year of the Engagement!

Austin received a CD called Celtic Thunder, which he requested.

And no, it isn't a CD of the Boston Celtics running...

Or singing.

Austin has very eclectic musical tastes.


Josh doesn't eat sweets these days.

Except on major holidays.

And Melia did a great thing when she bought him the Christmas-themed Oreos.

A great thing indeed.


Austin and Melia.


Tim and Lisa, Austin's future in-laws, gave Austin this print of the play-by-play of the winning Iron Bowl touchdown.

Could they have given The Boy/The Man a better gift?

Nope.


Roxie exchanged gifts with Hunter Christmas Eve, and he did something so very, very thoughtful.

He spent one hour, 19 minutes and 25 seconds picking the marshmallows out of four big boxes of Lucky Charms cereal.

He re-bagged all of the marshmallows.

And he gave her the best cereal known to man.


They're magically delicious, you know!


Taylor and Roxie exchanged gifts Christmas Eve, too, and the food theme continued.

Taylor bought Roxie every kind of Goldfish she could find.

And The Chick was happy, happy, happy!

Five o'clock has already come and gone today, so that means I'll post a little more Saturday and a little more Sunday.

Hang in there.

I'll eventually get it done.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Where-Has-the-Day-Gone Belinda

P.S. Just a hint of tomorrow's post in pics.


Roxie and Mikie.


Austin and Melia.

Doesn't she look pretty in that sweater?

I bought that!

She told me I did really, really good!


Harold's Boys.

That's what I've decided to call all of these man-child cousins.

My Daddy would have LOVED this time in their lives.

Brad, Josh, Austin and Zac.

Guess What?

Good Friday morning!

Guess what?

I'm going to do another 5:00 p.m. post today.

I am participating in my last Christmas activity of 2013 this morning, and it just cannot be helped!

When I return (at 5:00 p.m. TODAY), I will have Christmas pics, Christmas stories and so much more to share with you.

But for now...


Two of the prettiest Chicks I know, Roxie and Katie, Christmas Day!

See you at 5:00!

Sincerely,

The Enchanting (and Somewhat Pooped) Belinda

Monday, December 23, 2013

Beyond Mindless Monday and Reindeer Poop

Good Monday evening!

I'm still woefully behind in all things Christmas, so let's get to the post, shall we?

RANDOMNESS #1 - We celebrated Christmas with Mikie's family this past Saturday, and all was going well until someone finally mentioned Amber AND THE NEW BABY were not going to be able to make it to the gathering.

I tell you, I almost lost it!

Baby Mackenzie has had the flu AND the croup, so she and her Mama stayed home to recuperate.

I can't stand to think of a little six month-old having the flu AND the croup, but her Dad, Jared, assured me she was on the road to recovery.

And despite missing Amber and Mackenzie very, very much, we still enjoyed our time with the rest of Mikie's family.


Josh all wrapped up with a big red bow!


Roxie and Lauren. (She retrieved her bow from Josh.)


Austin and Melia. Happy and engaged.


Melia and Matthew playing with the Hot Wheels on Grandma's couch.


Brandi (Mom of Matthew and Lauren) with her Uncle Mike.

The more kids in a family, the less "adult" pics I tend to take.

RANDOMNESS #2 - As much as I love our Basketball Chicks (and I do LOVE our Basketball Chicks), we are having some technical difficulties this season.

However, I am not worried, and as one of their biggest fans, I know in the very near future, things are going to turn around for us.

I just know!

Until then, I will continue to take pictures of each and every game...

Because what would A Simple Life be without bi-weekly basketball pics?

I shudder to think.


I don't know about you, but when they look up in the sky, I look up in the sky.


Kesley and her flying ponytail.


Meagan.


Roxie.


Roxie gets mad at me when I stand up and shout, "Fight! Fight!"

I just call 'em like I see 'em.

Reindeer Poop

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and even though I haven't made it YET, I will have made it by Christmas morn for an after-Christmas lunch dessert and/or snack.

You will need the following:

4 tablespoons butter
5 ounces mini marshmallows (half a bag)
12 ounces Smucker’s caramel dessert topping
12 ounces Hershey’s milk chocolate chips
5 to 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter.

2. Add marshmallows and stir gently until melted.

3. Turn off heat and add caramel sauce and chocolate chips. Stir until melted.

4. Stir in cereal until combined.

5. Roll the mixture into 1" balls and set on wax paper to cool.

This recipe should make 40 reindeer poops... reindeer poop balls... round chocolate-type cookies.

I'll let you know how it turns out!

I will not talk to you before Christmas Day, so I'll take this little space to wish you and yours a Very Merry Christ-Filled Christmas.

I'll be back Friday to talk about 2013 Christmas memories, some new-to-me gift ideas I cannot talk about until the day AFTER Christmas... and tell you how the Reindeer Poop recipe tasted.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting and "Still-Not-Quite-Finished-With-All-the-Christmas-Stuff" Belinda

"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'" And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger." Luke 2:7-16
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