Friday, January 4, 2013

Weekend Happenings, Chicken Ranch Pasta, Kid-Friendly Indoor Winter Activities

Good Friday morning!

One of my favorite things about the New Year is the End-of-the-Year-Recap the news shows prepare. And when I say news shows, I mean The Today Show.

I love The Today Show.

The perfect time for me to wake up is 6:45 a.m., because I do not want to miss the 7:00 a.m. lead-in and the "other top stories over at the desk."

(Actually, the REAL "perfect time for me to wake up is 9:30 a.m.," but that doesn't happen often... or ever.)

If I wake up at 7:10, I'm a little out-of-sorts until 8:00 a.m. when they start the whole thing over again.

That being said, the 2012 End-of-the-Year-Recap was especially depressing. Matt Lauer even led off the segment by saying, "There is a bright spot, so stick around for the Olympic coverage toward the end."

And he wasn't kidding. Between multiple shootings, massive weather events, economic problems and other sad, sad stories, 2012 will not be remembered as a "happy" year.

After watching the Recap, I started thinking about my own 2012. All in all, it was not great either.

Don't get me wrong. There were many, many blessings in 2012, but if you've known me two minutes, you know I am a "Glass Half-Empty" kind of gal.

When it was all said and done, I looked at Mikie and said, "Well, thank goodness for the Olympics. We wouldn't have had any good news at all if it hadn't been for America 'bringing home the gold.'"

And then it hit me. I decided to go through my 2012 picture archives and look for visible proof that 2012 wasn't all THAT bad. In fact, there were some events and people in 2012 which were quite pleasant.

The more I looked, the more I became a "Glass Half-Full" person.

Tommy and Bev's home and cars were destroyed in the January 23 tornado, but not a hair on the heads of anyone in their family was harmed.

We spent our 15th year as an extended family in the mountains. That is not something to be taken for granted.

The Boy had a little stomach ache that turned into appendicitis. He had emergency surgery and a quick recovery. In our family of five, that was the only hospital stay we had this past year.

I FINALLY met The Pioneer Woman... and she was just as crazy about me as I was about her. Go figure.

I don't think anyone except The Faulkner Five will ever understand the "enormity" of Josh's graduation. It was our own personal "Summer Olympic" moment!

It has been one of my biggest honors to help my kids celebrate Mike each Father's Day for the past 22 years. I could only dream what a good, good Dad he would be when I married him almost 25 years ago. Looking back, I had no idea.

I don't want to take our boat for granted. I love each and every time we all hop on board for an afternoon of tubing. It takes us away as a family... even if it is only for a few hours.

I love when the sign says "HOT NOW." They aren't kidding.

Win or lose, I love Auburn and what it means to our little family.

I am forever and totally grateful for AUTUMN! It is my "renewing" time.

I am thankful for Black Friday. I wouldn't have said that a few years ago, but it has become my most favorite Friday of the year.

After looking at our Christmas pictures from last month...

I'm thankful for 60-year marriages...

Our Palisades Family Christmas Party...

My 14th Annual Christmas Tea...

My great-niece AND great-nephew AND the one on the way...

Our Annual Day After Christmas Movie with friends...

And last, but not least, Duck Dynasty.

Some big, some small, but none to be forgotten or taken lightly.

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things." Philippians 4:8

Oh, what a happy place my mind would be if I did this without fail every single day of 2013.

I know I don't make resolutions, but I'm thinking Philippians 4:8 might be my "Verse to Remember ALWAYS in 2013!"

Chicken Ranch Pasta

I found this on Pinterest.

I made it in my kitchen.

And at my dining room table, I received FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS from The Faulkner Five!

It's a New Year's miracle, I tell you!

You will need the following:

8 ounces penne pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup cooked, chopped bacon
2 cups cooked chopped chicken

1. In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. In same pot melt butter. Add flour and stir. Cook flour for 1 minute.

3. Slowly whisk in milk. Continue cooking until sauce thickens.

4. Stir in ranch dressing mix and cheese. Stir until cheese melts.

5. Add chicken, bacon and pasta. Stir to coat.

6. Serve with a salad and crunchy French bread!

Kid-Friendly Indoor Winter Activities

1. Add ribbons and some fun music and you have a swirling homemade dance studio.

2. Remember there’s no such thing as bad weather so long as you’re wearing the right clothes. Get wrapped up and enjoy a spot of puddle jumping. (Boys would LOVE this.)

3. Make your own indoor obstacle course by adding "blanket" tunnels, bubble wrap and balloons.

4. Make an activity cube, roll a dice and get moving. (If you roll a 1, jump six times. If you roll a 2, run to the back bedroom and back before Mom counts to ten. If you roll a 3, hop on one foot for 15 seconds. You get the idea.)

Weekend Happenings

Someone is having a Pirate Birthday Party tomorrow... and I cannot wait! Some of The Faulkner Five will be attending Matthew's fifth birthday party. Some of The Faulkner Five will be working. Some of The Faulkner Five had other plans set in stone.

But not ME!

I hope there's a pirate ship pinata. (I LOVE pirate ship pinatas!)

Other than the above-mentioned soiree and church, nothing is on the books for this weekend. That can be pretty dangerous... or fun.

(I'm personally hoping Mike, Austin and Josh will be able to see Les Mis Sunday night. If Mike doesn't go soon, I'm afraid he'll make me go, and I cannot handle no-words-spoken-at-all musicals. I just can't.)

Have a stupendous weekend. I will be back Monday with lots of winter goodness to share. (I already know of TWO kid parties with devotions which will be making an appearance!)

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


The Enchanting Belinda

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