Monday, August 19, 2013

Mindless Monday, Quick and Easy Apple Tart, Summer 2013 Re-Cap

Good Monday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - School started today. I honestly thought last Friday the first day of school was Tuesday the 20th.

I was mistaken.

And I lost a day of prep time.

And I had to get up SUPER early this morning to finish the prep I should have finished Sunday evening.

I'm not proud, but I speak the truth.

And I wasn't the only one who was a little upset when they discovered school actually started Monday, August 19.


The Chick lost 24 hours of "Summer Reading Time."

Roxie sat on this couch under her uber-soft blanket for five hours and 18 minutes Friday afternoon. FIVE HOURS AND EIGHTEEN MINUTES!

Even I had a headache.

The good news... She finished her third and final book Sunday evening.

The bad news... Even she admits she will probably wait until the last possible minute next year to begin (and finish) her Summer Reading.

I can rest easy knowing I have taught The Chick well.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Back in the day (which in this case means last year and the year before), I would pick a new and different restaurant and take The Chick and Friends out for a back-to-school dining experience.

We went to the Original Pancake House downtown for their Freshman Back-to-School Lunch.

Last year, I took them to a little restaurant called Olexa's in Mountain Brook Village.

This year, I was officially uninvited to drive them to their back-to-school meal in The Big Gold Van because... Well, because they can drive themselves, thank you very much!

But they did give me the honor of picking the restaurant.

And I picked Slice.

And they loved it.

And because I wasn't there, I don't have a single picture.

Heavy, heavy sigh.

NOTE - I've already picked out the restaurant for their Senior Back-to-School Meal.

It's going to be epic!

RANDOMNESS #3 - The Faulkner Five Back-to-School Dinner was held at P. F. Chang's this year. We took The Lovely Melia and Grandmother along for the ride, and a good time was had by all.

Roxie and Josh. You may have noticed Josh's new do. I'm still getting used to it, but it's growing on me. (Pun very much intended.)

Josh's giant hand photobombing what would have been a really, really good pic of Austin and Melia.

A really, really good picture of Austin and Melia. (What you cannot see is Roxie wrestling Josh's massive arm out of their picture to prevent another photobombing situation.)

I am forever beholden to her.

Roxie, Josh, Austin and Melia. Technically, Austin isn't going back to school, but we let him tag along with Melia.

We're super nice that way.

I didn't take a picture, but Mikie ordered not one, BUT THREE, desserts for the table... And one of them was the Great Wall of Chocolate Cake.

That man speaks my Love Language.

RANDOMNESS #4 - Summer of 2013 Re-Cap - It was a very unique Summer for The Faulkner Five. Four out of five of us were going in different directions each and every day.

At least two out of five of us made it home for dinner each night.

We saw a total of TWO Summer Movies together as a family.

We had THREE Faulkner Family Game Nights.

The majority of our time was spent one-on-one, one-on-two, one-on-three, but rarely with all Five Faulkners together.

I'm pretty sure I was the only one it bothered. The other members of the family were fine with one, two, three or four and adapted very easily.

However, I learned some very important lessons this Summer.

1. Love on the ones you're with.

2. Do not grieve for the whole.

3. Enjoy the pieces.

As kids begin leaving the nest, thoroughly concentrating on the one, two or three family members in your presence is a blessing.

Not as big a blessing as the whole. (Don't worry. I haven't gone completely Un-Belinda-Like on you.)

But a wonderful blessing nonetheless.

Here's the official Summer of 2013 Re-Cap...

Roxie - The Chick went to the beach twice (once with family and once with friends). She spent the week at Lake Guntersville with The Faulkner Five. She spent time with friends and family. She dog-sat and baby-sat and successfully earned a fair chunk of change. When I talked to her last night, she said she had a very good Summer.

Josh - Josh's Summer started out very badly (attacked in an armed robbery at Fred's), so it could only get better.

He worked, watched just about EVERY Summer movie that came out and spent a good bit of time fishing.

He also enjoyed several days of our Lake Vacation.

He moved out a week ago and began going to school this morning. He will begin working in Hanceville by the end of this week.

His Summer improved as the days and weeks passed by.

Austin - Austin worked at the Chick. However, he also had one part-time "radio-type" gig in July, and is preparing for two part-time "radio-type" jobs at JSU and Donoho during the upcoming football season... while still working at The Chick.

He spent a week with The Faulkner Five at the lake, and a week with Melia and family at the beach.

Things are moving along swimmingly.

Mike and Belinda - Summer is Mike's busy, busy time at work, but he fished and played with the kids a good bit.

And he took me to the beach for a mini-vaca. We haven't done that in a very long time, and it was relaxing and fun.

Mike and I had plenty of "alone" time this Summer, and when we weren't too tired from life events, we took advantage of the time to have a lot of dates. Some were tried and true, and some were new to us.

Either way, we have established we still like each other, and we think we will survive the totally Empty Nest when the time comes.

I have Roxie's Back-to-School "I'm a Junior pic." She spent the night with friends last night, and they got ready together this morning.

She came outside for the pic without shoes, so I'm really hoping when she arrived at Homeroom this morning she had something on her feet.

If not, I'm sure I'll be getting a call any time now!

Isn't she lovely?

Quick and Easy Apple Tart

I copied this recipe from The Pioneer Woman's cooking show this past Saturday. I tried it. We liked it. It's a keeper.

You will need the following:

1 whole sheet puffed pastry, cut in half
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
3 whole apples, cored, halved and sliced (not peeled)
Store-bought caramel sauce, for serving
1/4 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Place the puffed pastry rectangles onto a baking pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray or lined with parchment paper. Add the sugar, salt and lemon juice to the apples. Stir to combine. Allow to sit for a few minutes.

3. Arrange the apple slices on the pastry rectangles in a straight line, overlapping as you go. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

4. Remove from the pan immediately and place on a serving platter. Serve with caramel sauce and chopped pecans.

This was delicious. As you can tell by the pics below, I left the pecans out of the mix because Josh isn't a pecan eater. Next time, I will do half and half.

Have a "good as you possibly can" kind of day. It's the first day of school. At some point during the day, at least one out of every two females between the ages of five and 51 years of age will burst into tears.

Actually, I think the correct number is 100 PERCENT, but I didn't want to appear overly-dramatic.

Take care, and I'll be back Friday morning.


The Enchanting and Tear-Free (for the moment) Belinda

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