Monday, May 27, 2013

Mindless Monday, Blog Linkage, The Story of Copper - Part Three, Banana Pudding Poke Cake, Summer Job Jar, Restaurant Review - Slice

Good Monday morning!

We've got a lot of ground to cover today, so we need to get started!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Josh Update - Josh is doing well. His hand is returning to it's normal shape and size, and there is little or no pain. We will probably not have another X-ray.

He has worked two shifts at work since the robbery, and while it wasn't easy (especially around closing time), he did it. Just a reminder... he is the one wanting to return to work to see if he "can do it." Mike and I are not insisting/urging/wanting him to continue to work there if he has any reservations at all.

They still have not caught the criminals involved.

Things are slowly getting back to normal around here, and we appreciate your concern, prayers and thoughts.

Again, we were (and continue to be) very, very blessed.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Roxie Update - I'm posting some pics of Roxie's little red car. Hopefully, it will be fixed (good as new) in a few more days, and we can put this incident behind us.

Roxie is still at the beach with Aunt Bev and Katie, and that has helped take her mind off of the unpleasantness of last week.

Actually, I just got off the phone talking with her.

I guilted her into calling me by sending her text a which read, "Do you not even miss me a little bit? Is that why you NEVER call? Do my feelings mean NOTHING to you? Have a good day and don't worry about me. I'm sure I'll be okay eventually."

I know.

I'm very good at the guilt thing.

It's a gift.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Restaurant Review - I have just a few more Mother's Day pictures to share. I asked Mike and the kids to take me to a pizza place located in downtown Birmingham called Slice for my Mother's Day meal.

Mike and I have eaten there once before, but it was on a Saturday night, and the place was much more crowded than after church on a Sunday.

We were seated right away and we each ordered a different 12" pizza. When we go again, we will probably share three 12" pizzas, but I knew any and all leftovers would be eaten for lunch or dinner the next day.

Which meant I didn't have to cook... again!

The pizzas are a little pricey, but it was a special occasion and nothing was wasted.

We ordered the following:

Super Cheese - Mozzarella, Provolone, Fontina, Parmesan, Feta, Asiago - $16

This was Roxie's choice, and it ended up being the favorite.

Spicy Hawaiian - Capicola Ham, Grilled Pineapple, Fresh Jalapenos, Asiago - $16

Okay. This one belonged solely to me! I picked the jalapeno peppers off, but believe me when they say "spicy," they mean SPICY! Very, very good.

Old School - Molinari Pepperoni, House Italian Sausage, Fresh Mushrooms, Grilled Red Onion - $17

Just your basic EXTRAORDINARILY good pepperoni pizza.

Soul Pie - Turnip Greens, Black Eye Peas, Conecuh Sausage, Grilled Red Onion, Bacon, Pepperjack and Cheddar Cheese - $18

Mikie likes to try different things, and while no one else tried it, he liked it. He liked it a lot.

Margherita - Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella, Fresh Basil - $15

Again, another basic pie, but oh, so much better at Slice.

And for dessert... The S'mores Calzone! It was huge, and one was enough for all of The Faulkner Five. Tons of marshmallow, hot chocolate sauce and the secret ingredient... cinnamon and sugar on the bottom of the calzone. This is best eaten hot straight out of the open brick oven! (You will notice there is no picture of the S'mores Calzone. That's how fast it was eaten.)

One of Slice's best features... they have a large open brick fireplace outside on the patio. There are three tables situated in front of the fireplace. If you were fortunate enough to get one of those tables on a cool spring or fall night, it would be an excellent eating experience, I am sure!

I also received my traditional hanging baskets for Mother's Day. This year, the kids picked out impatiens... and I love them.

Three kids, three baskets.

RANDOMNESS #3 - My friend, Sue, has a new granddaughter, and she asked me if I minded taking some newborn pics of Reese.

A baby AND I got to use my camera.

Oh... my... goodness.

It was a great way to spend a beautiful Saturday. All three of the guys were working and Roxie was on the beach trip with her cousin and aunt.

What else was I going to do? Laundry?

And the sad answer to that question is yes, yes and YES!

So I jumped at the chance to meet her beautiful new granddaughter and I happily snapped away as she and her daughter dressed, undressed, fed, rocked and posed Baby Reese.

I was taking the pictures to Sue yesterday afternoon when The Big Gold Van had a blow out. I handled it extremely well because I've had a lot of blow outs the last 35 years of driving. For some reason, blow outs do not phase me.

It really doesn't make any sense because if I find out I'm low on window washer juice in The Big Gold Van, I totally and completely lose it.

I know. I continue to be an enigma.

Short story shorter... I'm taking the pictures to Sue this afternoon, and maybe I'll post a couple of them Friday if she doesn't mind.

RANDOMNESS #4 - The Story of Copper - Part Three - A million years ago, I started telling you the story of how Copper came to be a part of our family.

I told you about Sparkle's need for a sibling/companion.

I told you about the beagle rescue lady denying our request for a beagle because we wouldn't let the dog live in the house 24/7, 365 days a year.

I told you about how crazy and excited Geeves was when we first met him.

I told you Copper's original name was Geeves. (Horribly bad beagle name.)

What I didn't tell you goes something like this:

It took both Roxie AND Josh to hold Copper down in The Big Gold Van on the drive home. And when I say "hold Copper down," I just mean keep him from running to and fro, and hither and yon while I tried to keep The Big Gold Van on the road.

Sparkle was very "Who is this crazy dog and why is he in MY van with MY people?" all the way home. And I can't really blame her.

As far as she was concerned, we had a nice, quiet arrangement, and I (the Maternal Unit) had thrown a huge kink in her life.

It didn't take us long to figure out Geeves had absolutely no attachment to his name at all. None. Nada.

Since that was the case, we quickly decided to call him Copper during his week-long visit with our family.

We always liked the name Copper because it was from one of the boys' favorite Disney movies growing up... The Fox and the Hound.

Copper refused to answer to Geeves. And Copper refused to answer to Copper.

Copper refused to bond with Austin or Mike, and whenever he heard one of their deep voices, he would tremble and try to run.

It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out he might have been mistreated by a man during his younger years.

Copper was sweet, loving, eager and beyond energetic.

Copper was also NOT house trained in any way, shape or form, and did NOT like enclosed spaces... like the basement dog room.

We found out about his dislike of enclosed spaces the first morning when we discovered he had eaten through the sheetrock beside the door.

That's right. Copper ate a large hole in the wall in our basement.

And he didn't use the bathroom on any of the pet pads we had placed in the room.

He preferred using the bathroom on the floor right BESIDE the pet pads we had placed in the room.

All in all, it wasn't our best week.

However, at the end of the week it was a stand-off between me, Roxie and Josh AND Mike, Austin and Sparkle.

They didn't dislike Copper. They just didn't see the point.

Roxie, Josh and I won with the "let us keep him just one more week" argument, and little by little Mike, Austin and Sparkle came around.

Copper has been a part of our little family for seven years this July 1.

He is still VERY energetic and playful, but he decided to love all of us (even those of us with very deep voices) and he learned to go to the bathroom on the pet pads, and we compromised on the enclosed space issue by keeping the door open in the basement.

He doesn't wander around, but he could if he wanted.

When Sparkle understood Copper was missing a couple of weeks ago, she tried to squeeze into a tiny hole under our fence to get out and find him. She was unsuccessful.

She barked and howled trying to call him home until she was hoarse. She was unsuccessful.

She sat on the deck and whined and cried until she fell asleep (alone) the two nights before Copper was returned to us.

All in all, I think it has made us appreciate Sparkle AND Copper more. Our family felt a little unbalanced (more than normal) without Copper bouncing around our backyard, and life is much sweeter with two beagles than just one.

We've returned to life as we know it... and like it.

And that, my friends, is finally The Story of Copper!

The End.

Blog Linkage - If I haven't already said it, "Happy Memorial Day!" Click on Confessions of a Pioneer Woman under My Blog List and read her post simply entitled "Memorial Day." It's a wonderful tribute to the men and women who have served and protected our country.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

You will need the following:

1 box yellow cake mix
Ingredients needed to make cake (eggs, oil and water)
2 (3.4 ounces) packages instant banana pudding
4 cups milk
1 (8 ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
20 vanilla wafers, crushed

1. Prepare cake mix according to package directions in a 9" x 13" cake pan. Once cake comes out of the oven, allow it to cool for a couple of minutes.

2. With a wooden spoon handle, a spatula handle, or some other similarly-sized object, begin poking holes in the cake. You want the holes to be BIG. Be sure to poke down to the bottom of the cake.

3. In a bowl, whisk together instant pudding mix with 4 cups milk. Stir until all the lumps are gone. Pour pudding over cake. Pour it into the holes as much as possible. Spread it out and using the back of the spoon, gently push pudding down into the holes. Put the cake into the fridge to set and cool (about 2 hours).

4. Once your cake has completely cooled, spread on whipped topping.

5. If you haven't done so already, crush your vanilla wafers. Spread crushed wafers onto the top of the cake. You can do this immediately before serving the cake if you like. This will ensure the wafers are crunchy when you serve it.

6. Serve with freshly sliced bananas. Keep refrigerated.

Austin asked me to make this cake for him, and he'll be happy to know it is in the refrigerator waiting for after-dinner dessert tonight!

Summer Job Jar

Once again, Pinterest seems to have all the answers. I love how the Summer Job Jar worked out for this Mom... and it might work for you and yours, too.

The author or this article is a woman named Sarah Pinneo, and she explains in detail how she "taught" her two sons to work... and work well.

I presented it at breakfast. “In here,” I told my children, “are some things that need doing. Every morning we’re going to pick one, and right after breakfast we’re going to do the job together.”

Chewing their English Muffins, they sized up the jar. The little slips of paper inside did not reveal their secrets, even after a good shake. There was just enough mystery there to win over my men of leisure.

“Can I choose first?” asked the younger one.

I looked at his big brother, who nodded yes. “And I’ll read it,” he offered.

"I hope it says go to the store and buy a toy,” the little man said. (Every family needs an incurable optimist.) He pulled a slip of paper from the jar and handed it to his brother.

“Weed the herb garden,” my older son read.

“Oh, gweat,” was his brother’s exasperated reply.

But then, without complaint, both boys put their cereal bowls in the sink and came outside to weed. They learned how to identify (and pull) spurge, colt’s foot, dandelion and purslane. (They loved that you can eat purslane.) Little brother was easily distracted by the ants making tunnels under every rock, but he was more often helpful than not.

And my older son got into it. “This job’s not bad,” he said, pulling out a tall lanky weed. “I like how they go ‘pop’ when you yank ‘em.”

I let them off the hook after half an hour. The weeding (and the time) had gone surprisingly fast. The next morning there was no complaint when they pulled “wash kitchen floors” from the jar. That job was also finished quickly, and I released them again.

Somehow I had blundered into a formula which worked for us at that little moment in time. The crucial elements seemed to be:

1. The mystery of the jobs. They had no idea what I’d written on the slips of paper.

2. The fact we did everything together. It wasn’t lonely work.

3. No job was too overwhelming. In fact, a few were quiet easy like “try on all the fall clothes to see what still fits,” and “organize art supplies.” Since a pattern of helping out daily was established, we accomplished some real doozies, too.

4. We chose our job during breakfast when, by definition, the boys were not already in the middle of more enticing play.

As summer progressed, our closets were cleaned, our clothes were sorted and our beans and potatoes picked. Our outdoor furniture was scrubbed and our floors cleaned. Now that school has started again, the job jar stands abandoned on the counter top. I can’t wait to try it again.

I'm going to put this in my "I wish I had thought of that" file.

That file just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger!

Have a fantastic Memorial Day and FIRST OFFICIAL WEEK OF SUMMER! I'll be back Friday with more of the same.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

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