Monday, September 30, 2013

Mindless Monday, October Dates in Alabama, Baked Coconut Shrimp, Josh's Birth Day Story - Part One

Good Monday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Josh's 20th Family Birthday Celebration is now one for the scrapbooks.

In case you haven't been able to tell by the pictures, Josh has lost about 50 pounds since high school. He has done this by cutting out sweets, working out (a lot) and NOT eating birthday cake... which is not to be confused with eating sweets.

Totally different thing altogether.


When it came to choosing a birthday cake, Josh didn't want to be tempted.

He asked me to make his most "un-favorite" dessert of all times... lemon pound cake.

He blew out the candles, but he did not partake of the cake!

I kept the Fall color scheme going and just added Josh's favorite color to the orange and yellow... black.

Such a festive party.

Sweet Taylor gave him a birthday bag with some of his favorite treats (to save for his December "cheat day") and a large water for the party.


Mike and I gifted him with some new boots.

Taylor and Josh.

Mike, Becky, Grandpa, Grandma, Josh and Guy.

Zac, Tommy, Bev, Josh, Brad, Stephanie and Katie.

Roxie and Josh.

And, yes. I am painfully aware the pictures from last Monday look almost exactly the same as the pictures this Monday.

I didn't plan the whole "there needs to be AT LEAST 30 days between kids' birthdays" thing very well, did I?

RANDOMNESS #2 - If you are interested, and you probably are not, the first 2013 Faulkner Family Fun Fall Drive did not happen this weekend.

Mike and I had a nice, low-key date Saturday evening, but it was already dark before we were ready to leave.

One of the most important rules for the Fun Fall Drive is to begin and end the Drive during daylight hours.

Otherwise, we're just driving around in the dark, and I get whiny because I cannot take pictures at night.

Mike will tell you... You don't want to be around me when I'm whiny.

These are some ghosts from one of last year's Drives.

Austin and Melia actually enjoy the Fun Fall Drives.

Josh and Roxie... not so much... at all.

In fact, they HATE, HATE, HATE the Fun Fall Drive, and they probably will not be invited this year.

And they are SOOOO grateful.

Just Mikie.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Josh's Birth Day Story - Part One - I've done it before... and I'll probably do it again. Josh's birthday is Friday of this week (October 4), so since the dates fell "just right," I'm going to tell the story... ONE MORE TIME!

As I wrote on the blog many years ago, Austin's birth was an emergency C-Section. I did not care for the emergency C-Section. In fact, I thought the women I knew who had C-Sections and "loved" them were certifiably insane. I didn't like not being able to cough or laugh. I didn't like hurting if I tried to walk upright. I didn't like the driving restrictions. I didn't like the staples. I didn't like being allergic to morphine. The list could go on and on and on. (I'm a whiner. I admit it. I am NOT a good surgical patient.)

That being said, I was determined to have Josh without the C-Section. I told my doctor not once, but many, many, many times how I planned on this birth taking place.

But I've gotten a little ahead of myself, haven't I? Before we arrived at the end of the nine months, we had the pregnancy. Because I had gained 50 pounds eating powdered doughnuts and 3:00 p.m. Sneaky Pete hot dogs every day (and I mean EVERY day) during my pregnancy with Austin, I decided to be much more disciplined with my eating habits during my pregnancy with Josh. And I did much, much better. By the time he arrived, I had gained 30 pounds... which I think is very, very good.

I had two little complications during my nine months with Josh... the first being my first bout with gestational diabetes. I had taken the test and was waiting for my results.

The day I was scheduled to receive the results, I met my friend, Shelly, for lunch. I ordered the hot fudge cake for dessert when she informed me SHE was on a diet, and I absolutely could not eat hot fudge cake in front of her. Shelly was a formidable presence. I knew she was very serious. I also knew if I ordered the cake after she had TOLD me not to, she would throw it on the floor. (I am not kidding!) She was that kind of friend.

So, as a compromise, I ordered the cake "to go." She wasn't happy, but she didn't wrestle it out of my hands either. We said our good-byes, and I went to my house. I was walking in the door with my box of cake making my way to the fork drawer when the telephone rang.

Now you have to understand something. I was living in Cullman at the time, and telephone calls (especially from family and friends from Trussville and Hoover) were precious. Also, I didn't have a cell phone with free weekend minutes OR an answering machine. I didn't have the option of NOT answering the telephone. Coming into the house a mere thirty seconds later, I would have missed the call altogether.

"Hello," I answered breathlessly as I started opening my cake box and reached for the silverware drawer across the kitchen. (I had one of those extra long telephone cords. Remember those?)

"Mrs. Faulkner. This Dr. Walton's office. I just wanted to tell you your test came back and you have gestational diabetes," an anonymous nurse-type person said on the other end of the phone.

"What does that mean exactly?" I asked, with a chunk of hot fudge cake and whipped cream dripping off the end of a fork right in front of my face.

"It means STEP AWAY FROM THE CAKE," she said. No, no. Not really. But she might as well have said those words. I lowered the fork as she gave me instructions, growing angrier by the minute at my EX-friend Shelly.

It was going to be a very long pregnancy without sweets... and my EX-friend Shelly was going to pay dearly for causing me to miss my LAST piece of hot fudge cake for the next 25 weeks. Yes... she was most definitely going to pay!

I'll let you know HOW MUCH she paid tomorrow.

Baked Coconut Shrimp I fully intended to make this BEFORE this morning's post, but it didn't happen. Thus, I will be making it Thursday night, I think.

If you want to wait to see what we think of this recipe, I'll let you know Friday morning, but it really sounds good, doesn't it?

You will need the following:

1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut
3 egg whites

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

3. Rinse and pat dry the peeled and deveined shrimp.

4. In one bowl, mix the cornstarch, salt and cayenne pepper.

5. In another bowl, beat the 3 egg whites until they are foamy.

6. In a third bowl, pour the 2 cups coconut.

7. One shrimp at a time, coat it first in the cornstarch mixture (covering it completely), then dip it in the egg mixture and then roll it in the coconut.

8. Place it on the baking sheet and repeat until you run out of mixture.

October Dates in Alabama

I found the October issue of Birmingham Parent Magazine in a doctor's office Saturday morning, and there are some good events scheduled this month in and around The Magic City.

Hikes for Tykes
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, October 5, 12, 19, 26
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
This is a hands-on adventure for preschool children and their families. It is FREE! Call 205-540-6642 or go to www.freshairfamily.org for more information.

35th Annual Alabama Tale Tellin' Festival
5:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, October 11 and 12
Church Street in Selma, Alabama
Expect plenty of homespun humor and toe-tapping music. Call 334-878-2787 or go to www.artsrevive.com for more information.

NOTE - Mike and I have always wanted to take the kids (or go ourselves), but there was always a timing conflict. It just sounds fun to me.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens Fall Plant Sale
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20
Herbs, sustainable trees, fall annuals, shrubs, natives, perennials and more.

Alabama's Wildlife Center's Owl-O-Ween
11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Alabama Wildlife Center at Oak Mountain State Park
Features children's educational activities and programs and the opportunity to meet a live owl. FREE after paid admission to Oak Mountain State Park. Call 205-663-7930 or go to www.awrc.org for more information.

Okay. That's it for today. I'll be back Friday with more of everything.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, September 27, 2013

Weekend Happenings, Cheeseburger Soup Recipe (Pinterest), Pumpkin Bird Feeder Devotion

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Roxie's 17th Birthday Celebration continued through Wednesday, September 25 (her actual birthday). I've added a few more pics from her family party and one of the actual birth DAY!

Uncle Guy, Aunt Becky, Grandma, Roxie and Grandpa.

Melia and Austin. This could have been taken anywhere, but in honor of Roxie's 17th Birthday, we'll say Austin picked up The Lovely Melia in celebration of this historic event.

Katie, Bev, Brad, Roxie, Zac and Stephanie. I didn't get a picture of Stephanie's engagement ring, but hopefully, I'll have another chance to take the pic at Josh's party this Sunday.

It is beautiful.

And this, Ladies and Gentlemen, is what 17 looks like.

Ahhh... 17. I remember it well.

Or vaguely.

Or not at all.

That was a LOOOONG time ago!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Wednesday was going to be a bittersweet day for me. If Sweet 16 was a big number (and it was), 17 was going to be really huge. HUGE!

Another step closer to TOTAL and COMPLETE independence from the maternal unit... me. Except for laundry, all of my kids can totally survive without me.

To be honest, they know how to do laundry, but because it is a thankless task (and I still "need to be needed"), I continue to do it for the most part.

They can all cook well enough to not starve. They can do their own laundry. They can clean a bathroom, cut a yard, take care of a car, etc., etc., etc.

If I was a horse, it would be time to put me out to pasture.

Or so I thought!

"Mom! Since it's my birthday, I want to take a snack to basketball practice this afternoon. Is there any way you could make a pan of Rice Krispie Treats and bring them to the locker room door around 1:30?" she asked... on her way down the sidewalk... to her car... on her way to Wednesday morning Chick-Fil-A breakfast.

I couldn't believe my ears!

She needed me!

The Chick still needed me!

"Yes. Yes, I can," I called out, choking back tears of joy which were trying to run down my cheeks.

I showered. I coiffed. I put on make-up. I went to the grocery store. I bought marshmallows, Rice Krispies, disposable trays... and candy corn.


I immediately went home and made not one, but two, batches of FALL RICE KRISPIE TREATS!

I made one batch bright, bright orange. After I pressed the treats into the pan, I pressed candy corn on top. It was lovely.

I made the other batch bright, bright yellow. After I pressed the treats into the pan, I pressed candy corn on top. It, too, was lovely.

I packed a bag with two plastic knives, orange napkins and orange dessert plates.

I drove to the school and Roxie met me at The Big Gold Van.

I was grinning like an idiot!

"Surprise!" I yelled.

"What is all this?" she asked, taking in the two LARGE trays of goodies and bag of cutlery and paper goods.

"I made birthday treats for you to share with your teammates," I yelled... again.

"Mom. I'm 17. This is basketball practice. I just wanted to have plain, beige Rice Krispie treats to give everyone when they left. Pre-cut, no plates, no napkins, no candy corn. What have you done?"

"These taste better," I explained.

Then The Chick looked at me, smiled really, really big, picked up the armful of Rice Krispie goodness and said, "Thanks, Mom. Everyone is going to love these."

And off she went.

I knew she was going to be tempted to throw everything in the garbage can outside the locker room, because instead of birthday Rice Krispie treats, I had made a "birthday embarrassment." A huge birthday faux paus, if you will.

Yes, I had.

But I also knew something she didn't. Seventeen and 18 year-old chicks love bright orange and bright yellow Rice Krispie treats decorated with candy corn.

They really do.

When she came home a couple of hours later, she threw her books down, flopped on the couch beside me and said what I already knew to be true, "They absolutely loved them. They ate every bite, and they said to tell you they loved you, too."

"I know," I said, wisely and more than a little puffed up.

"I'm not always going to be an embarrassment to you, Roxie. One day, when you're almost 30, I'm going to be able to walk into a room, breathe, talk and laugh and you're going to notice you're not a vivid shade of red... and you're not wondering what your friends are thinking... and you like my shoes."

She smiled, nodded, kissed me on the cheek and went upstairs.

I don't think she believed me, but that's okay.

I know it to be true.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I had an "I've got to get out of this house" moment yesterday afternoon, so I drove to Whole Foods to take a peek at their fall produce... and it did not disappoint.

Isn't it lovely?

I love the "spilling of the while pumpkins."

These are called Big Mac pumpkins. They cost $49.99 and they are huge. They would be hard to push around in a wheelbarrow, much less carry to the cash register and then to The Big Gold Van.

I thought about how I would explain the purchase of a $49.99 pumpkin to Mikie and this is what I came up with...

1. It needed me.

2. I wouldn't have to purchase any mums or other pumpkins for our front porch decor this year... or next... or next.

3. We could say we grew it ourselves and enter it in a State Fair competition somewhere. We might even get asked to appear on The Today Show. They do a story on the biggest pumpkin every year. (Wouldn't that be too cool?)

4. I needed it.

I know my Mikie. He wouldn't go for any of the above reasons.

Heavy, heavy sigh.

I am a lover of ALL gourds... even the ones some would consider unattractive.

I am Champion of the Undergourd!

Cheeseburger Soup

I tried this Pinterest recipe this week... and it was GOOD!

It's not the most simple recipe in the world, but it is definitely worth the effort.

You will need the following:

2 carrots
1 onion
2 celery
8 cups potatoes, diced
3 cans chicken broth
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 pound hamburger meat
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 pound Velveeta
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Brown the meat and drain. Set aside.

2. Chop the potatoes into small chunks and set aside.

3. Grate the carrots and chop the celery and the onion.

4. Melt 1/4 cup of the butter in a large 5-quart pot and saute the onions and the celery until clear.

5. Add cooked meat and potatoes, along with the chicken broth.

6. Simmer until the potatoes are tender.

7. While this is cooking, take the remaining butter and add the flour over low heat. Stir until thick and then set aside.

8. Once the potatoes are done to your liking, add the flour mixture to thicken the soup.

9. Stir well, then add the cheese cut into blocks along with the milk. Stir occasionally until the cheese is melted.

10. Simmer in the crock pot all day. Right before serving take the soup off the heat and add the sour cream. Stir until incorporated and then serve.

NOTE - Goes great with French bread.


Pumpkin Bird Feeder Devotion

NOTE - This is the last devotion I'll be sharing from the DEVOTIONS FROM THE PUMPKIN PATCH handout for awhile, but it is my favorite.

You will need the following:

Small or Medium-Sized Pumpkin
Bag of Bird Seed
Ribbon or Cord Strong Enough to Hang Half Pumpkin
Picture of Sparrow
Unsharpened Pencil

Devotion - His Eye is on the Sparrow

Prepare the pumpkin by cutting it in half and cleaning the pulp out of the pumpkin.

Fill each clean half of pumpkin with bird seed.

Have cord or ribbon strong enough to wrap around bottom of filled pumpkin half and tie to a low tree branch.

Now have your devotion sitting on a blanket under the bird feeder.

FALLING SPARROWS - Have your family fly around the yard like sparrows until Dad or Mom shouts out “FALLING SPARROWS!” Children will all fall down until Dad or Mom shouts out “FLYING SPARROWS” and continue as time allows. The final FALL can then be story time as children gather in a circle.

NOTE - This is a great game to play before your devotion when the kids appear to be a little antsy. It gets rid of some of the excess energy.

I have a picture to show you. This bird is a sparrow. A sparrow is a small bird. He weighs about the same as a pencil. (Pass around an unsharpened pencil and let everyone see how light a sparrow really is.)

Sparrows do not fly south for the winter. They live here all year, even when it's extremely cold, like last winter.

Sparrows are everywhere. They are just common, everyday birds. Lots of birds are more beautiful than sparrows. Lots of birds sound more lovely when they sing than sparrows. Sparrows are ordinary.

Yet, Jesus had something to say about sparrows:

"When sparrows are sold, two small sparrows cost only one penny. But not even one of them can die without God's knowing it. God even knows how many hairs are on your head. So don't be afraid. You are worth much more than many birds." Matthew 10:29-31.

God loves the sparrows, and He pays attention to their lives.

God loves you much more, and He pays close attention to your life. God knows how many hairs are on your head. And God knows what is going on in your life. God knows when you are sad about something; and when you are happy. God knows when you are afraid; and He understands.

We can care for sparrows, too, just like God does. When it is very, very cold outside, birds need to eat more food for their little bodies to stay warm. We’ll watch from our window and see the birds eat from our birdfeeder!

End with prayer.

Weekend Happenings

1. On Friday, Austin and Roxie will be at the Donoho and Gardendale football games, respectively. Mike and Josh have plans. And I... Well, I have a lot of stuff to do this Friday evening in prep for the rest of the weekend.

2. Saturday is a yard day for Mike and Josh. Mikie is in charge of ours and Josh is helping Austin out by taking over one of his "pay" yards.

Since Sweet Taylor is coming home for the weekend, I am sure Roxie will be spending much of the day playing catch up, visiting favorite Smoothie shops, etc., etc.

Josh and a friend are going to head to the JSU game tomorrow afternoon, and if I am not mistaken, Mike and I are free to have a late afternoon date.

Since we've been walking this week, we talked about using some of this time to exercise, but it seems wrong (to me) to exercise on a Saturday... or a Sunday... or most Mondays... and definitely Fridays.

A better way to spend a beautiful Fall Saturday late afternoon would be the first 2013 Faulkner Family Fun Fall Drive.

Of course, there will just be the two of us, but this is the first of many. We can take the other Faulkners and The Lovely Melia on the next drive.

3. After church Sunday, we will have yet another Birthday Celebration. Josh will be turning 20 October 4 (next Friday), so we're doing the big family thing Sunday afternoon from 2:00 until 4:00.

Josh is my son. I know this because he makes great Birthday AND Christmas lists each and every year. They are full of specific, easy-to-find, mostly affordable gift ideas. I love him for the list... and a couple of other reasons.

I'll be back Monday... the last day before the first day of October... the BEST month of the year! I'll have Faulkner Family Fun Fall Drive #1 pics, Josh Birthday Celebration pics, another new recipe, Blog Linkage and more, more, more.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mindless Monday, Wise Old Owl Pumpkin Devotion, Zesty Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken (Pinterest)

Good Monday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - World War Z did NOT happen Friday night... and I was pretty happy. Things turned around (as things tend to do in our house), and four out of five of The Faulkner Five ate at Zaxby's before Mike and Josh went to a movie, and Roxie and I headed home to pile up on the couch and watch Pretty in Pink.

I live in fear Roxie is going to grow up thinking the 80s were a bizarre time for fashion and music and movies, and I'm doing my best to teach her what a great decade it was to live as a teen and early twenty-something.

However, as we've watched Steel Magnolias and now, Pretty in Pink, I am convinced Roxie is right.

The 80s WERE a bizarre time for fashion, music and movies, and while I sometimes miss big hair and even bigger shoulder pads, I am now certain they definitely belong in the 80s to be made fun of by kids and young adults living in the year 2013.

I mean, that is what the 60s were for my generation.

Although Roxie thinks a lot of the 60s stuff was pretty cool.

Which means my granddaughters might really enjoy Steel Magnolias and Pretty in Pink in a couple of decades.

I can only hope.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Roxie's 17th Birthday Celebration was held yesterday from 2:00 until 4:00, and if I totally believe Roxie (which I choose to do), she had a great time.

We'll start with the "cake."

Since the kids are "old" now, they get to choose their favorite cake/pie/dessert for their Celebration.

Since Roxie is not a fan of "sweets" (she prefers dill pickle chips, thank you very much), there is very little in the cake family that appeals to her.

After much consideration, Roxie decided that she does love Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts.

"I want a doughnut cake."

"Perfect," I said. I wouldn't have to bake anything and be worried about it "turning out," AND if I knew Mikie (and it turned out I did), he would offer to pick them up hot and fresh after church Sunday morning.

Roxie and I spent some time together on Pinterest checking out doughnut cakes, and what Roxie really liked was a doughnut HOLE cake... tree... cone? And she wanted silk flowers tucked in here and there... and really pretty, skinny candles sticking out all over the cake... tree... cone?



"Are you sure you don't want all different kinds of doughnuts and I'll make one of these pretty cakes? You know. A cake that is stacked."

"I don't really consider stacking doughnuts in the shape of a pyramid a 'cake,' Mom."

I'll go ahead and say it now. I'm a great stacker.

It's almost eerie how good a stacker I am.

Although it isn't listed in the Bible, I consider it a God-given gift!

But building a cone-shaped doughnut hole cake... Well, I just didn't know.

As it turns out, I bought a cone (styrofoam) at Hobby Lobby, along with a stem of silk flowers, and the rest was history.

I needed 60 doughnut holes to cover this cone... I guessed.

Mike bought 60 doughnut holes, and guess how many I actually needed?


But I found if you turned the cake a certain way, it worked well with only 60.

Krispy Kreme doesn't make doughnut holes, so Mike bought a dozen KK glazed and a dozen KK mixed variety for the guests. He went to Shipley for the doughnut holes, and I think everything turned out just fine.

Roxie's favorite colors are NOT orange and yellow, but since her party fell on THE FIRST DAY OF FALL, I felt it had to be autumnal in color.

The Chick was happy.

NOTE - If you tilt your head slightly to the left, my pictures will not appear crooked. I could change my whole picture-takin' style, and one day I might, but for today, just tilt a little and we'll all feel better.

At 17 years of age, money is a great gift, but I still like to have gifts for the guys to open, so the brothers gave her money (and a CD), Melia gave her a Gift Certificate (and her favorite candy) and Mike and I gave her a Pandora pearl ring.

Along with the other money she received from family, she was a very happy young lady.

The pink boa was used as "gift bag stuffing." I didn't want you to think Roxie wore a dark yellow and brown striped scarf with a hot pink boa to make a fashion statement.

Although it would appear The Chick can pull off that color combo, too.

Just tilt your head to the left a little.

After a couple of hours of eating and visiting, the party started breaking up and I commenced with the "family picture" portion of our day.

Katie and Roxie.

Austin, Roxie and Josh.

And, yes. There was a wardrobe change somewhere between eating the doughnuts and having the pictures taken.

I do not know why.

Melia and Roxie.

Roxie and Grandmother.

Roxie and Zac.

Uncle Mike and Katie.

Another pic that defies explanation!

The Chick's actual birthday is September 25 (Wednesday), and there will be a little celebratin' on that day, too.

It's going to be a fun week, I think.

I'll post the rest of the birthday pics on Friday.

Blog Linkage - Go to The Dating Divas under My Blog List and click on today's post entitled "12 Super Sporty Dates Your Man Will Love." They have free printables and really good ideas.

Zesty Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken

You will need the following:

6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 (12 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1. Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.

2. Cover and cook 3 to 4 hours on high OR 6 to 8 hours on low.

NOTE - I know adding the Italian salad dressing sounds a little odd, but it turned out to be really tasty.

We all loved it!

Wise Old Owl Pumpkin Devotion

You will need the following:

Sunflower Seeds
Devotion - Story of King Solomon/Wisdom

What is wisdom? There are two kinds of wisdom... man’s wisdom and God’s wisdom. Men think wisdom is being smart and getting a good education and having a successful life.

God’s wisdom is knowing God and what His Word tells us about how to live a life that pleases Him. Having God’s wisdom brings true peace and satisfaction.

King David knew that his son Solomon would be Israel’s next king. Before he died, David taught Solomon what he should do as king.

King Solomon showed his love for the LORD by obeying God’s laws.

It is a gift to have family members who teach us to love and obey God. Just as Solomon heard what his father taught him, more importantly he showed his love for God by obeying what David taught him about God.

Solomon knew if he was going to be a good King, he would need God’s wisdom... not man’s wisdom.

God was happy because Solomon knew that in order to be the kind of king that could lead God’s people, he could only do it with God’s wisdom.

I will never be a king like Solomon.

However, you don’t have to be a King to obey God and have God’s wisdom.

We need wisdom to live a life that makes God happy, and so we can tell others about Jesus.

How do we get God’s wisdom?

Do you remember how Solomon received God’s wisdom?

Solomon listened to his father, David. He learned from him and obeyed him. By obeying David, Solomon was also obeying God.

Do you think it made King David happy when his son obeyed him?

Do you think it makes God happy when we obey Him?

Yes. Yes, it does.

End with prayer.

That's it for today! Have a beautiful "second day of Fall," and I'll be back Friday with Weekend Happenings (another BIRTHDAY is coming up), another new recipe (pork chops) and more.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, September 20, 2013

Weekend Happenings, Autumn Pretzel Hugs Recipe, Thumbtack Pumpkin Devotion

Good Friday morning!

I'll go ahead and tell you now... This is going to be a short, yet informative, post. I don't have a lot of time, so we'll just go ahead and get started.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I went to a Girls' Craft Night last night and had the best time. I made coasters... out of tiles and napkins... and it was super complicated... but I did a great job.

The coasters say, "My holiday outfit hides a multitude of sins."

I like that in a coaster.

My friend, Suzann, had these napkins, and since I thought they were cute (AND I had brought the wrong kind of paper), she let me use her napkins. To be honest, I think her coasters turned out much better than mine.

But I'm not bitter.

Because that would be wrong.

And I try extra hard not to be bitter while attending Sunday School functions.

I don't always succeed, but I do try.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, wrote a new cookbook for the holidays. The cookbook comes out in October, and Ree will be in Birmingham Tuesday, November 26.

I'm planning on being there... again.

We became very close and personal BFFs the last time she came to town, so I'm anxious to see her and see how everyone on the ranch is doing.

I'm wearing my Pioneer Woman "shirt" in the above pictures. I will wear that shirt again this year... because she will recognize me in a crowd... and will probably ask me to come to the front of the line... because she'll recognize the shirt, you see.

Back in the day, I had a Barry Manilow "blouse" and I wore it to every Barry Manilow concert I attended (five total, I think).

He never called me up on stage, but by Concert #3, I realized I had a little more personal security than most fans.

I think they recognized the blouse... and added me to the "Fan/Stalker File."

And that's as close as I ever came to Mr. Manilow!

Autumn Pretzel Hugs

I've posted this recipe before (Pretzel Hugs), but I made the Pinterest version for last night's Sunday School party.

You will need the following:

Circle Pretzels
Bag of Hershey's Hugs
Bag of Candy Corn

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Align pretzels on the sheet.

3. Unwrap Hugs and place one on each pretzel.

4. Stick in the oven until the Hugs begins to melt down (about 4 to 5 minutes).

5. While the Hugs are melting in the oven, get your candy corn ready because you will have to move quickly once the pretzels are out of the oven.

6. Remove Pretzel Hugs from oven and gently press a candy corn down on each one. The Hug should flatten out when you press the candy corn on it. If it is not flattening out, place the Pretzel Hugs back in the oven for 30 more seconds.

7. Let the Pretzel Hugs cool completely and let the chocolate set for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator.

Pretty cute, huh?

Thumbtack Pumpkin Devotion

You will need the following:

Three Pumpkins (to stack)
Decorative Thumbtacks

Devotion - “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15

Joshua was faithful to the Lord, and as long as he lived, Israel followed the Lord with their whole heart.

However, after Joshua died, the men of Israel began marrying women from other countries who worshipped other gods.

The Bible says, “I am the LORD, and there is no one else, there is no God beside me.” Isaiah 45:5

Slowly but surely, the more Israel worshipped other gods, they were unable to follow the one true God on their own.

Like the Israelites, we are not able to serve the Lord on our own. Even though God is faithful, we are constantly unfaithful and practice idolatry. We may not worship other gods, but we sometimes put other things in front of God... like sports, or spending time with our friends or wanting to stay home on Sunday morning to do other things instead of going to church to worship God.

Before Joshua died, he said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”

God should always, always comes first.

Our first pumpkin has a big “G” on the front. Let’s put thumbtacks on the big “G.”

The second pumpkin has a big “O” on the front. Let’s put thumbtacks on the big “O.”

The third pumpkin has a big “D” on the front. Let’s put thumbtacks on the big “D.”

Let’s put this together in a way pleasing to God.

“D” goes on the bottom.

“O” goes on top of “D.”

“G” goes on top of “O.”

That spells “GOD.”

When someone comes to your house and they see your stacked pumpkins, they might ask you why it spells “GOD,” and you can tell them...

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

End in prayer.

Weekend Happenings

1. Okay. I asked Mike if we could have another nice, fun little date like we did last week when we visited Pepper Place. He said, "Leave it to me."

And later in the day he asked me if I would go see a movie with him.

As we all know, I LOVE movies so I agreed.

He wants to take me to see World War Z. It's at the Dollar Movie.

It's about zombies.

And not walking, slow zombies.

Super fast, running zombies.

I don't like scary movies... and while I'm not 100 percent certain, I'm thinking a movie with fast, running zombies chasing Brad Pitt is probably not a romantic comedy.

I can hardly wait.

2. Roxie is taking the ACT Saturday morning. Josh is watching football Saturday morning, afternoon and evening. Austin is working in Anniston and Jacksonville.

I haven't asked Mikie what he's doing, but I'm sure I'm going to be exhausted from having stayed up all night having nightmares about fast, running zombies.

In between naps, I'm going to be getting everything ready for Roxie's 17th Birthday Celebration which is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

3. After church, there's going to be a big family get-together in honor of Miss Roxie. She's afraid she isn't going to get anything she asked for because I've done a great job of telling her everything she wants is too expensive, not necessary or cannot be found.

I think she's going to be pleasantly surprised.

The following are just some family pics taken last year at Roxie's Sweet 16 Family Party. Personally, I think she's aging very well.

Austin, Roxie and Melia.

Grandma, Roxie and Grandpa.

Roxie and Mikie.

I hope you have a marvelous weekend. (I hope I do, too!) I'll be back Monday with Roxie Birthday Pics, Randomness and another DEVOTION FROM THE PUMPKIN PATCH.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mindless Monday, Bejeweled Pumpkin Devotion, The Red Cat (Restaurant Review)

Good Monday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Sweet Taylor surprised Roxie Friday night. She wasn't supposed to be home until Friday, September 20, but she was knocking on our door at 7:00 p.m., Friday, September 13.

It was a very good surprise.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Well, we did it! Mike and I finally went to Pepper Place this past Saturday morning... and we had the best time.

Beautiful produce, flowers, baked goods, live music, free samples, well-behaved children (and dogs) and a cool autumnal breeze set the tone for our first (but not last) visit to this fantastic farmer's market.

I'll let the pictures tell the story...

The flowers were so vibrant...

As was the produce. Have you ever seen a more purple eggplant?

Dogs were everywhere, but this guy caught my attention right away.

I liked the fact this concrete jack-o-lantern would last all year round, but the odds of stubbing my toe on this 50 pound pumpkin were too great to make the purchase.

I see a rusty old bike and think, "I need to get that out of my basement and into the nearest dumpster."

This guy thought, "That would look great hanging on a brick wall with a basket of flowers on the front."

And that, my friends, is the difference between someone who is truly creative and someone who copies truly creative people.

In case you didn't figure it out, I'm the "copier."

If you're a rock-n-roll fan, you may not care for the live music at Pepper Place, but for a bluegrass lover like Mikie, it was the perfect musical backdrop.

RANDOMNESS #3 - My nephew, Brad, asked his beautiful girlfriend to marry him this past weekend, and while we weren't at all surprised by her answer, it's always good to get a little positive confirmation.

Brad and Stephanie haven't set the date yet, but please be comforted to know, I will be giving you and yours a play-by-play of each and every little detail.

Another milestone!

Another reason to buy some new outfits and get my toes done again and again and again!

Another opportunity to take millions of pictures!

Another reason to say, "Brad's old enough to get married? When the heck did that happen?

RANDOMNESS #4 - We made it to Oxford in time for my great-niece's baby dedication. With the exception of a few hiccups, Mackenzie was as quiet as a church mouse.

Amber, Jared and Mackenzie. After the prayer, the Pastor handed Jared the microphone and he introduced his new daughter to the congregation. I haven't seen it done that way before, and I really liked it.

It was a very sweet way to spend a Sunday morning, and I'm glad The Faulkner Five and The Lovely Melia were able to attend.

RANDOMNESS #5 - I taught a Pinterest Class at my church last night. I didn't actually teach people "how to" decorate seven different pumpkins as much as I showed the finished product, and I gave each Grandmother and Mom in attendance a handout with a matching family devotion.

It was a lot of fun, and while it looks like a pumpkin patch exploded in two of the rooms in my home, it was definitely worth it.

I've posted one of my favorite pumpkins and devotions from the class below.

The Red Cat (Restaurant Review) - Mike and I ate breakfast at The Red Cat while strolling through Pepper Place.

The inside of the restaurant has an urban-hipster-too-cool-for-words feel to it.

In other words, Mike and I stuck out just a little bit.

We sat at a table next to the window so we wouldn't miss a thing.

When you are cool, urban and hip, these kind of twinkly lights work great.

Mikie... after the grits.

Mike and I both ordered the Bacon/Cheddar Croissant which tasted exactly how a bacon/cheddar croissant is supposed to taste.

But Mike also ordered a side of Organic Grits.

Okay. Mike is the grits' fan in our home. While I thoroughly enjoy Another Broken Egg's Blackberry Grits, I will be the first to admit I will rarely, if ever, order grits when we are out and about.

Nor will I make them at home.

Mike buttered and salted and peppered that small bowl of grits for quite a while before he declared them to be "perfect."

"Here. Try a bite," he offered. And I did.

Can I just say, Organic Grits at The Red Cat may be one of the best things I've ever put in my mouth? I don't know how they prepared them other than they told Mikie they had been cooking for hours, but they were light and not the least bit gummy or grit-like.

Mike and I are going back to The Red Cat mid-October when we visit Pepper Place again, and we're both ordering the Organic Grits... and maybe an omelet... or two.

It's a very affordable breakfast place, and while the wait last Saturday was a bit long, in the end it was worth it.

Bejeweled Pumpkin Devotion

You will need the following:

Bag of Gemstones
Hot Glue

Pumpkin Prep

1. Cut the top off of a medium pumpkin. Do NOT clean the inside of the pumpkin. Leave the pulp and put the top back.

2. For a medium pumpkin, use 1/2 yard of tulle. Gather it around the stem of the pumpkin, and secure with a ponytail holder or rubber band.

3. Hot glue gemstones to the tulle (as many as you like).

4. Tie a big bright ribbon around the stem.

Devotion for Little Girls

You can be pretty on the outside, but God is only interested on the inside. “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

This does not mean it's wrong to fix your hair or wear nice clothes and jewelry.

God doesn’t mind seeing girls work on being as pretty as they can be, but he would rather see girls work on becoming beautiful on the inside... the kind of beauty that will last forever.

The kind of beauty God truly appreciates.

Let’s look at this pumpkin more closely.

I’m going to untie the ribbon, and take off the tulle.

And look. The top of this pumpkin has been cut. I’m going to take the top off so we can see inside.

(Let the kids take turns seeing the yucky inside of the pumpkin. Make sure they smell it, too.)

This pumpkin was beautiful on the outside, but it is NOT beautiful on the inside.

Do you think God knows when someone is pretty on the outside, but not pretty on the inside?

Do you think God knows when little boys or little girls say mean things, or do not share their toys or do not treat their brothers and sisters nicely?

Yes, he does.

And no matter how much you might try to hide what is on your inside, you can hide nothing from God.

(Talk about different ways a small child can work on becoming pretty on the inside... obeying Mommy and Daddy, playing nicely with others, learning more and more and more about Jesus, etc.)

End with prayer.

Remember... A family devotion with small children should not last over five or six minutes. It can go a little longer if you have a game or activity (cooking or art), but always be mindful of the attention span of the kids you are teaching.

Have a terrific Monday... and I will try to do the same. I'll be back Friday with another devotion from last Sunday night's class, pics, Randomness and more.

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


The Enchanting Belinda
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