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Friday, April 12, 2013

Weekend Happenings, Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies, Blog Linkage, MORE Free Spring Dates, This Time Last Year (April 12, 2012)

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - The Boy's last broadcast went well Monday night. Melia and I sat in a tiny "booth" (while Mikie stood in the doorway) and listened to sports talk for 90 minutes. I didn't understand ANYTHING, but Austin and his cohorts put on a good show. I smiled the whole time and thoroughly enjoyed watching him in his element.

I think he's going to be okay after he graduates... in two weeks... OH... MY... GOODNESS!

Breathe, Belinda. Breathe.


As much as Austin loved to talk as a kid, I should not be surprised he has chosen a career in broadcasting.


And he's good at it, too.


Zac, Austin and Dave... I see great things in their futures.


Mike and I both hope it won't be too long before Austin is standing under one of these signs again... and getting paid for doing so!

RANDOMNESS #2 - The kids all received Tim Hawkins concert tickets in their Easter Basket, and they are looking forward to his performance THIS SATURDAY NIGHT.

I'm excited for them. It should be a great concert.

RANDOMNESS #3 - This Time LAST Year (April 12, 2012) - I'm not perfect. I know. I can almost hear the gasps and see the heads shaking. "No. No. Say it isn't so!"

Nope. I'm not even particularly close. And this makes me sad sometimes.

Like when I miss lunch with a friend... because I remember we're supposed to have lunch this week, but I don't remember we have actually picked a day AND a time.

My imperfection looks something like this on e-mail...

My Friend... Belinda. Sorry for the late notice. Tomorrow is not going to work. Can we do Monday or another day next week?

The Enchanting Belinda... That's fine. Can you go Tuesday or Thursday next week?

My Friend... Tuesday should work. Hope you have a wonderful Easter!

The Enchanting Belinda... You, too! I'll see you Tuesday!

THE FOLLOWING E-MAILS ARE DATED APRIL 10, 2012... TUESDAY EVENING!

My Friend... I looked so alone standing there lookin' around for my dear friend, Belinda! :o)

The Enchanting Belinda... OH, NO! Something has been bothering me ALL DAY. I FORGOT! Can you please, please forgive me? If not, I totally understand.

Here are my excuses...

1. I'm in the throes of menopause.

2. I live with two teenagers... and Mikie.

3. I thought I had three living brain cells left... but maybe I was wrong and now there are only two.

4. Did I mention I'm in the throes of menopause?

I am SO sorry.

My Sweet Friend... Easily FORGIVEN. I can SO relate to Nos. 1 and 4. How long do these throes last... like forever? Reschedule anytime. :o)

The Enchanting Belinda... Thursday??? I have a Sharpie and I'm going to write it on my arm. (I would write it on my forehead, but I don't really look in mirrors these days.)

I bought you an "I'm sorry" present!

My Sweet Friend... Thursday is good. :o)

The Enchanting Belinda... I WILL be there!

Last night, my friend sent me another e-mail. She bought us tickets to see Menopause - The Musical. It's playing one night only September 20.

She told me to write it on my arm... with a Sharpie! (And I did.)

Blog Linkage - If you have a chance, check out Confessions of a Pioneer Woman under My Blog List. Today's post is very good.

She makes a list.

We are so much alike, it's eerie.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

My intent was to make TWO different Pinterest cookie recipes this week.

Alas, I only made one... but it was a good one!

You will need the following:

2 cups and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
16 wrapped caramels, cut into 4 or 5 pieces each
Sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Mix the flour and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.

3. With an electric mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together.

4. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and mix well.

5. Gradually add the flour mixture and stir until a dough forms (may take a couple minutes of stirring).
,br /> 6. Fold in the chocolate chips (do not add the caramels yet). Do not overmix the dough at any point in this process.

7. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes (or up to 5 days) in the refrigerator. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Press a few pieces of caramel onto the tops of the cookies.

8. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. The centers should appear very soft and puffy. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt while they are warm. Let cool completely and enjoy!

NOTE - Make sure to keep dough cold at all times while the batches are baking. I kept my dough in the refrigerator in between batches.

ANOTHER NOTE - For some reason, these cookies taste even better the next day. I'm making them again this weekend.

MORE Free Spring Dates

1. Give Back to Your Community - If you share a passion for animals, volunteer at a local pet shelter. If you're more interested in hefting a hammer, look into Habitat for Humanity. There are volunteer opportunities for all passions, so just find the one that best suits you both and have fun!

2. Sandcastle Competition - This works best if you either live by a sandy beach/ocean or if you have a kid's sandbox around. Gather up some items that can be used to build castles (bowls, cups, etc.) and see who can build the best one! (I think Mikie and I would have done this back in the day when we owned the Turtle Sandbox. It would make a fun surprise for the kids the next morning, too.)

3. Rock Skipping - Find a smooth lake surface and start skipping. The peaceful surrounding is perfect for picnics, so pack a meal and enjoy the water all day! (This sounds fun to me because I like to skip rocks AND I like to eat picnic-type meals. I know. I'm full of surprises.)

4. Create a Scavenger Hunt - 
Scavenger hunts aren't just for little kids. They're experiencing a major comeback among the grown-up crowd. Create your own scavenger hunt and explore a nearby town with your date. Even if you know the destinations, watching your date discover them is the best part.

Weekend Happenings - It's a list thing this weekend... in no particular order.

Friday

Austin - He'll be attending "J" Day at JSU with The Lovely Melia all day. He'll be doing the pre-game show and participating in all things Jacksonville.

Josh - He'll be working at Fred's this evening, but the good news is he is OFF all day Saturday.

Roxie - We have NO idea... yet.

Me and Mikie - We're with Roxie. We have NO idea... yet.

Saturday

Austin - He is scheduled to help with the yard, work on a paper and clean his truck. Oh, and he's going to the Tim Hawkins Concert Saturday evening.

Josh - See above.

Roxie - She's going to do the "clean her car thing" and the "Tim Hawkins Concert thing." And dust. The Chick is going to dust a lot of stuff.

Me and Mikie - We're hosting a Dessert Bar after the Tim Hawkins Concert for Austin, Josh, Roxie and company.

I'll be baking Saturday.

Mike will be testing baked goods Saturday.

Sunday

Austin - He will be teaching Sunday School and working on his paper.

Josh - He will be going to work, which is not the norm... unless people quit during the week... and this week, some people quit.

Roxie - She is going to church, doing homework and generally hanging out.

Me and Mikie - We'll be going to Sunday School and church. I'm going to teach a one-time class on Parenting God's Way (Birth - 5 Years-Old), and I can't wait.

I think there are going to be a lot of expectant mommies in the group.

I'll let you in on a little secret. I adore expectant mommies.

Because they are going to have newborn babies, you see.

And I adore newborn babies even more than expectant mommies.

Speaking of expectant mommies, my niece, Amber, is having her Baby Shower Sunday afternoon, and I, of course, am going to attend the shower.

Sunday is going to be a GREAT day... because maybe my niece, Brandi, will bring my great-niece, Lauren, to the shower.

And if Lauren happens to be taking a nap and doesn't come to the shower, there are always other newborns, babes and toddlers hanging around that type of celebration.

I'll be able to get my baby-fix for the weekend, I think.

Have a fantastic weekend. I'll be back Monday with date pictures (I hope), another cookie recipe (I hope) and a little of this and a little of that.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

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