Saturday, November 30, 2013

Post-Thanksgiving Post

Good Saturday afternoon!

Here are the pics from Thanksgiving #2!

Two year-old Lauren. Ain't she sweet?

Jared, Amber and Mackenzie. It was Mackenzie's first Thanksgiving, and she definitely dressed the part.

Melia, Austin and Roxie. Color-coordinated without me having to say a word!

Roxie and Matthew. (I put some mustaches in Matthew's Great-Aunt Belinda Brown Bag, so he wore a different "stache" every few minutes. I thought it made him look dashing!)

Two cousins who will one day be fast friends.

A little wrestling. (I'm not sure, but I think Lauren and Matthew pinned Roxie.)

Matthew... clean shaven.

Roxie and me... also clean shaven.

Josh, Roxie and Matthew... post-turkey stupor.

Josh, Roxie and Austin.

You know, from the pictures I post and some of the stories I tell, I lead a pretty awesome life.

Everyone is always smiling, hugging on each other and enjoying some family event or celebration.

Life can look really, really perfect on a blog... or on Facebook... or on Instagram.

I just want to take a minute to remind you that nothing in this world or life is perfect.

I have frequent panic attacks... and some of them can be crippling for a time.

Josh has OCD... and next week will mark eight years he has openly been battling this illness.

My Mom has cancer... and will finish her third set of chemo treatments in less than three years in January.

And those are just some of the "big" things.

Roxie and I are grumpy and ill with each other several times during the week. (Mainly because she is a 17 year-old Chick and I am a 52 year-old Mama Hen.)

I never get caught up on laundry and housework.

For every new recipe I try from Pinterest, two more recipes come out of the oven inedible.

It is getting harder and harder and harder to "make things happen" as a family, and while that is VERY normal, it is difficult to admit sometimes.

Sparkle has been at the vet with a herniated disc since Wednesday.

My house is NOT decorated for Christmas and it is Saturday, November 30. (YIKES!)


My life isn't perfect.

God never promises us because we become Christians we're going to escape the problems of life... big or little.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:8, "We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed."

When we, like Paul, begin to put into perspective our "here and now" as compared with eternity, we are able to see the problems and troubles in this life as temporary and oh, so small.

If it is okay with y'all, I'm going to continue to write my little blog and post my little pictures of happy moments I experience during this temporary and problem-filled life, because that is one of the ways I am able to maintain perspective.

And I am convinced the longer I live, the more important "keeping things in perspective" is going to become.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Late Thanksgiving Night Post

Good Thursday evening!

Did I really say in last Monday's post I would be blogging before I left for my annual Black Friday Cousin Weekend Extravaganza?


And you believed me?

Why don't we make this right?

I'll be posting by 2:00 p.m. Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Now that's doable.

Have a great Friday, and I'll talk to you on Saturday.


The Enchanting and Temporarily Insane Belinda

P.S. I think everyone can see Roxie gets her eye-rollin' ability from me.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mindless Monday, Cranberry Relish, A (New-to-Me) Thanksgiving Tradition

Good Monday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - The Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament didn't end well Saturday, but we're hoping for a different outcome today and tomorrow.

Until then...

Intense Claire and Roxie...

Intense Joy...

And Intense Mallory.

But don't forget...

Pretty Ponytail Roxie...

Polite Joy...

And Smiley Mallory.

I've got a feeling, today's going to be our day!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Many of you have asked me what I'm going to change our "family name" to when Melia and Austin marry next October.

Acutally, no one has mentioned it, but it has been bothering me a little.

I've come up with the following solution:

We will become The Fabulous Faulkners, since The Faulkner Six doesn't have the same flow as The Faulkner Five.

Also, we can add as many Faulkners to The Fabulous Faulkners as our heart desires and it fits... perfectly.

"But what about when Roxie marries? She'll have a different last name. Her husband will have a different last name. What will you do then?" you mak ask.

Don't worry.

After I finally figured out The Fabulous Faulkners, I spent a few nights tossing and turning trying to figure out what we would do when a new name was thrown into the mix.

My solution?

Right now, I've decided to call the group ____________________ (Roxie's future husband's first name) and The Fabulous Faulkners.

It has a 50's band name feel to it, doesn't it?

Of course, we may just end up being called Mikie and Belinda.

And that would be okay.

It's how we started out, after all.

RANDOMNESS #3 - This year, The Faulkner Five and The Lovely Melia will be celebrating Thanksgiving in Oxford at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

That means, my side of the family got together this past weekend for an early Thanksgiving.

And that means more Fall pics.

The Chick was hungry.

Bev and Tommy.

Katie (with a new do), Roxie and Grandmother.

MamMa and Katie.

Austin and Melia.

Going up the stairs in no specific order... Austin, Brad, Grandmother, Josh and Zac.

Me and Mikie.

And if you aren't bored enough, these are some of the dishes I prepared for this year's feast...

I copied this from Pinterest. It was cute... and I was the only one that saw it on the Thanksgiving Buffet.

Roxie was near the front of the line, and instead of taking a few apple slices and dipping caramel sauce from a FULL BOTTLE OF CARAMEL PLACED STRATEGICALLY BESIDE THE TURKEY APPLE PLATE, she took the little caramel-filled TURKEY FACE BOWL!

All anyone else in the family saw was a bunch of sliced apples PLACED STRATEGICALLY ON THE TOP HALF OF A GREEN PLATE!

They didn't understand!

But unlike my usual self, I refuse to be bitter or fussy.

It is what it is... and Roxie will never be allowed to be in front of the Thanksgiving Buffet line again.

So there.

I made Cranberry Relish again, and even though I've given you the step-by-step recipe before, I'm going to do it one more time below.

As always, I made my Deviled Eggs. I make them four times a year (Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas).

Bev eats the yellows and Mikie eats the whites.

And everyone else acts normally and eats the combo.

I also contributed corn and rolls, but I'm almost certain everyone out there knows exactly what corn and rolls look like.

I'll spare you the 8" x 10" glossy!

RANDOMNESS #4 - The grandkids and Grandmother read their Thankful Letters after we ate. (This was the 20th year... we think. Grandmother has the makings of a very sweet Thanksgiving Thankful Letter Book, and hopefully, we will work on putting that project together some time in the next year or so.)

This year, I sent a message out to everyone in the family (Facebook, text, smoke signal, etc.) asking them to bring any and all spare change from their purses, bags and vehicles. (I told you about this a few posts back.)

We emptied all the change into bags after lunch and the Thankful Letters. Austin, Melia, Roxie and Katie made the trek to Walmart to the Coin Star machine.

When they returned, we had $88.35 to send to the Red Cross Philippines Relief Fund.

Mom and I were talking about it this morning, and we're already making plans to implement a new service project next Thanksgiving.

I'll tell you more about it ten months from now.

Right now I'm trying to wrap my head around the week ahead!

Cranberry Relish

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

You'll need a 12 ounce bag of cranberries from the produce department of your grocery store. Rinse them well, and place them in a square baking dish.

Mix one cup of sugar with the cranberries in the baking dish.

Bake the cranberry/sugar mixture for 30 minutes (COVERED) or a little longer if the berries haven't popped when you remove it from the oven.

Add a jar of Apricot Jam or Apricot Simply Fruit AND 1 cup of chopped pecans when you take it out of the oven.

Mix both new ingredients well.

Refrigerate the Cranberry Relish for a few hours before serving.

Spoon relish on top of an 8 ounce block of cream cheese.

Surround cream cheese and relish with Triscuit crackers (or some other HEAVY cracker).

Eat and eat and eat.

Have a fun-filled Thanksgiving Week. I'll be back for a few minutes Friday morning with Weekend Happenings, pics from Thanksgiving #2 and more.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, November 22, 2013

Weekend Happenings, Blog Linkage, Pinterest Stuff

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I don't know if I've told you this already, but I am now a member of a gym.

I know.

It felt awkward just typing it.

My Body Flow/Body Pump teacher moved from the Civic Center to a local gym to teach the classes I've been sporadically attending the last couple of years, so I followed her.

And while I love my Body Flow/Body Pump teacher (one of the most amazing, interesting women you would ever want to meet), you can visibly tell I am out of my comfort zone when I walk through the door.

I don't belong.

I am in the minority.

I am a "normal" 52 year-old woman in a sea of "not-so-normal" hard bodies.

But because I am 52 years-old, I decided a few years back not to be intimidated by stuff that doesn't particularly pertain to me and mine any longer.

Which means, when these "not-so-normal" hard bodies have three giant nine-plus pound babies and live to tell about it 22 years later, then we'll compare Body Mass Index numbers and Body Measurements, etc.

Not today.

Not tomorrow.

Not ever, really.

Because by the time the hard bodies reach 52 years of age, I am pretty sure I will have retired from the gym.

That's my introduction to Randomness #1 today. You will find the actual Randomness below!

During Body Flow Class Tuesday, we were instructed to lie on our stomachs on the floor.

Put our arms behind us.

Lift our heads and shoulders.

Reach and hold our right ankle with our right hand, and our left ankle with our left hand.

When this position was achieved, we were told to pull our upper body up even more while holding onto our ankles.

Our stomachs were still on the ground.

I describe this to you because I want you to picture it in your head.

This is not a natural human position.


In any circumstance... whatsoever... as long as we all shall live.

The closest I can come to ever having seen it before is when someone sky dives and they "assume the sky-diving position."

And even then, those people are not holding their ankles.

Sorry. I digress.

My body rejected the position within 15 seconds, and I felt my left ankle slipping out of my left hand.

As my ankle freed itself from my hand, for some unknown reason, my brain told my hand to grab it!

"No matter what happens, GRAB THAT ANKLE," my brain said.

So I twisted and contorted my body trying to re-grab my ankle.

But my ankle was having none of it. It was free. It wasn't about to be captured and pulled over the top of my head again.

No, sir.

As you can imagine, I was now in a great deal of pain.

Pain from my foot which hit the floor like a brick when released.

Pain from my shoulder and neck from trying to re-grab my wayward ankle.

Pain from the right side of my body because my left side had rebelled... and kind of run away.

Pain from my face when I released my right ankle and just let everything HIT THE FLOOR.

I've had to accept some hard facts the last few weeks.

My body no longer flows.

It lurches, creaks, pops and sometimes makes noises I can no longer identify.

I informed Mike, "I think I pulled the left of me."

"What does that mean? 'I pulled the left of me.' What part of the left of you?"

"All of the left of me. And get this. I think the right of me is having sympathy pains."

He told me to take two Advil and call him in the morning.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Roxie played in her third basketball game last night, and while we are still only one or two baskets away from victory (we haven't won a game as of today's date), our team is coming together very well.

With a tournament Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, I think we may have some wins under our belt when I post next week!

Pictures like this make me think someone on the floor shouted, "Assume the position!"

I show a lot of pics of the girls with the intimidating "game face," but I never want people to forget how pretty they are when they aren't trying to snatch a ball from an opponent's tight grip or running 90 miles per hour down the court trying to demonstrate the perfect lay-up.

These Chicks are the whole package.

Pretty Kesley.

Perfect Profile Roxie.

Relaxed and Smiling Mallory.

Kelci and Meagan are doing the "concentrating on the sidelines" thing.

As is Cam.

And because it is the Season of Basketball, I have Action Shot No. 1.

Action Shot No. 2.

And Action Shot No. 3.

You're welcome.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Austin/Josh Update (2/3 of an Empty Nest) - The Boy/The Man moved to Jacksonville yesterday. (He'll be back Sunday.)

Josh has been (and will continue to be) living in Hanceville Monday through Friday until next August.

So it is happening.

The nest is kinda, sorta two-thirds empty.

This, as you can imagine, makes Roxie's heart sing.

When she left this morning, I kissed her and told her, "Daddy and I are going to devote 110% of our time and energy Monday through Friday to you... and only you. We want to just soak you up the next two years before college."

And this is the look I received.

She is beyond thrilled!

I love it when I can make one of my kids' dreams come true!

Blog Linkage - Go to www.kathleenssugarandspice.com and check out yesterday's post entitled "Browned Butter and Sage Mashed Potatoes." This isn't a super easy recipe, but it certainly looks super good.

Pinterest Stuff

Spouse Christmas Traditions

1. Cider Sippin’. Okay, I actually prefer hot cocoa, but “cider sippin’” sounds cooler. For this one, you get a babysitter and go out Christmas shopping for the kids. But you go somewhere special (just the two of you) and get some hot cocoa together. While you sip on your cocoa and enjoy the time alone, you can go over your children’s lists and make a plan of attack for the shopping.

2. T’was the Night Before Christmas. The next day will be majorly focused on the kids, so make a tradition the night before for just the two of you. It could be as little as five minutes, but come up with a tradition that works well for your relationship. Maybe you have a special “toast” and share your favorite memory from the last year, or maybe you exchange a special gift or letter.

3. Stocking Stuffers. Get together with another couple that you both enjoy spending time with. Enjoy an activity, dinner or treat together and then split up. Guys and Gals. Collaborate together as you search for some fun stocking stuffers for your spouse. Sometimes getting ideas from someone else can be helpful!

Weekend Happenings - The following is a short and sweet numbered list of my weekend. I didn't divide it into "People" or "Days." Everything runs into everything else this weekend.

1. Basketball tournament.
2. Thanksgiving No. 1 at Grandmother's.
3. Cooking for Thanksgiving No. 1 at Grandmother's.
4. Josh coming home.
5. Austin coming home.
6. Dreamland Barbecue with friends Sunday night for dinner.

Hold on! The holidays are here!

Have a fascinating Weekend-Before-Thanksgiving weekend. I'll be back Monday with more basketball pics, Pinterest Stuff, Thanksgiving No. 1 pics and more, more, more.

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


The Enchanting and Non-Flowing Belinda

P.S. I didn't mention it before, but when Mikie and I went to Pepper Place Farmer's Market last week, I bought three new succulent plants.

I'm usually undecided about the succulent.

I look at the arrangements.

I love the colors.

I like the name.

I go back and forth about if they look artificial or not.

And then I usually walk away not knowing how I really feel about the succulent.

I am ambivalent.

Or, I WAS ambivalent until I spotted these "rust-colored" succulents at a funky little nursery located beside Pepper Place.

I was drawn to the "rust-colored" succulent.

For some reason the almost-dead coloring of this hanging succulent speaks to me, and I am no longer sitting-on-the-fence when it comes to deciding whether or not I want to invest money and time into caring for a few of these plants.

One week old today... and still alive.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mindless Monday, Quotable Quotes, Crock Pot Ham, Thanksgiving Suggestions

Good Monday morning!

RANDOMNESS - Let's start the week off with Pepper Place Farmer's Market pictures, shall we?

We ate at The Red Cat again...

And I had the organic grits and took pictures of odd things hanging from the ceiling.

Can you tell I got a little bored waiting for my grits?

Twinkly lights make everything better. I think that is what Meg Ryan's character says in You've Got Mail... and it is true.

This planter haunts me.

I looked everywhere, but I couldn't find the top half.

This is Bella. She absolutely adores her owner. He is a vendor at Pepper Place and he sells organic dog treats.

I showed him the above pic before we left, and he laughed and said, "I bought Bella for my wife, but for some reason, she's totally my dog."

Could it be because he makes and sells organic dog treats for a living?


This looks like Mrs. Doubtfire to me.

Mikie tried his hand at an "artsy" photo. For Mike (and me), "artsy" means "hold the camera at a weird angle."

And for this specific picture, "make sure The Enchanting Belinda has no pigment whatsoever in her face, neck or arms."

I spotted this little guy on a porch during our travels Saturday morning.

How cute is he?

Quotable Quotes - If you've known me five minutes, you know my favorite movie is You've Got Mail. (I may have mentioned it once or a thousand times since I started the blog.)

I'm going to share one of my favorite movie quotes with you this morning. It's from Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan's character in the movie).

"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void."

And now I have to ask myself... Do I lead a simple life because I like it, or because I haven't been brave?


(I'll try to answer that one after I finish another couple of loads of laundry!)

Crock Pot Ham

You will need the following:

1 ham, pre-cooked, bone-in, spiral cut
3 cups brown sugar
1 can pineapple tidbits, undrained
1. Cover the bottom of the crock with brown sugar.

2. Place ham on top of the brown sugar and add the pineapple tidbits with the juice. Sprinkle ham with more brown sugar.

3. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

I made this for Sunday lunch yesterday and it was good. It received Five Stars (which, as you know, is HUGE.)

Thanksgiving Suggestions (Andrea... This is for you!)

1. My family has not done this (YET), but it has always been on my holiday "to-do" list.

I would love for our family to one day serve meals (or prepare food) for a homeless shelter or downtown mission on or near Thanksgiving or Christmas... or any other day of the year, for that matter.

I think it would be meaningful and rewarding.

And I'm going to make plans to do it sooner than later.

2. This year, I'm sending text messages to my nieces, nephews, sister, brother-in-law, sons and daughter asking them to gather any and all change they can find in their cars, purses, drawers, pockets, etc., etc.

I am then asking them to bring their change to our Thanksgiving lunch.

They will put their change in a large bucket (provided by me).

After lunch, any of the kids who want to (but especially Austin, Josh, Brad and Zac) will head to Walmart and dump the change into the "change" machine.

They will return to Grandmother's house with the money.

I will write a check equal to the "change amount" to the American Red Cross and put it in a pre-stamped and addressed envelope.

Someone will then take the envelope to Grandmother's mailbox and raise the flag.

The mailman will pick it up Friday, and it will be on the way to help the many homeless and hurting in the Philippines.

Keep in mind, The Faulkner Five and The Lovely Melia are celebrating Thanksgiving with my side of the family this Sunday. I don't have to worry about Walmart being open since it isn't technically Thanksgiving. If you want to try "Change for the Philippians" with you and yours on Thanksgiving Thursday, you will need to make a few calls to see if there is a store open with a change machine...

Or everyone could sit down in the middle of the floor and put the money in change rollers.

You know your family!

You know what would work best for them!

(The change machine will work best for me and mine!)

I hope you have a spectacular week. I'll be back Friday with basketball pics (we have two games), more Thanksgiving Suggestions and probably some Pinterest Stuff.

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


The Enchanting Belinda
Site Meter