Friday, November 15, 2013

Weekend Happenings, Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Manicotti, Pinterest Stuff, Blog Linkage

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Okay! Here are some pics of Sparkle in the hay and leaves. Copper and Sparkle love the hay/leaf combo in the Fall... and no matter what you think about Copper's many successful escapes over the past few months, we do try to make the beagles happy.

I would say this was a yawn, but when you are a 77 year-old beagle, I think the picture-takin' baby talk may cause a gag reflex.

Of course, I can't be certain.

But I think we all know that isn't a yawn.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Roxie's basketball team played hard last night, and I loved taking pictures of the 2013-2014 Lady Rockets.

I love Mallory's hair in this pic.

And I love how polite Joy and the young lady on the other team were being. "Pick me, please. Pick me."

Kesley and Roxie waiting to be buzzed into the game.

I hope she's reaching for the ball. Otherwise, it looks a little silly.

I may have distracted Cam just a little, but I didn't use a flash. I promise.

I try not to ever speak badly about the girls on the other team, but these two chicks were very pushy.

I love the wispies.

The concentration Kelci is showing is admirable.

We didn't win our first game of the season, but we were ahead the first half.

It's a game which will look a lot different in a few weeks when we play these girls again.

Just sayin'.

RANDOMNESS #3 - The Boy/The Man will be moving to Oxford next week to start his new jobs. I'm going to miss him, but it is time.

And because of The Lovely Melia, he'll be coming home at least once a week... and we'll be making the occasional road trip to him. (Top of the River... here we come!)

It will be much like when he was away at school at JSU.

But none of the above is as much a problem as the fact Austin and I accidentally started a new series on Netflix. Chuck. Chuck is so good and quirky and funny and sweet... Plus, it's a spy show.

When I used the word "accidentally," I meant Austin started the series... and I walked through the den one day before he left for Chick-Fil-A... and he was watching it... so I sat down and watched it with him... and now I'm hooked.

I'm not sure how we're going to do it, but we have 82 more episodes to watch between now and Wednesday morning.

Unfortunately, this is not a 30-minute show.

That's right. An hour-long show with no commercials which turns into 40 minutes of non-stop entertainment.

It's a big ol' chunk of time, and with basketball and the holidays coming up, I am concerned the next few days might not produce as much clean laundry, home-cooked meals or exercise time as I normally need... but I'm willing to make the sacrifice for The Boy/The Man.

It's kind of my "moving" gift to him.

Let the Chuck-fest begin!

Blog Linkage - I found a new blog (thanks to Pinterest... see below), and it is wonderful. Please go to and read the post entitled "Let Dad be Dad."

I totally agree with this post. I haven't always "Let Dad be Dad," but I know the importance of letting Mike be Mike which is so very different from who I am... and that's a good thing.

A very good thing.

Austin, Josh and Roxie have been blessed with a very hands-on, "I want to spend tons of time with my kids" and "I am who I am" kind of Dad in Mike.

And since I assume the "up-tight-and-the-sky-is-falling" role in our family, it is fitting that Mike fills in the gaps with the more "laid-back" approach.

Guess what? Since Mikie's been such a great Dad, I have a gut feeling he's going to be an even greater Granddaddy one day.

I think I'll be visiting this blog often.

Pinterest Stuff - I've made a brand new section for all the good things I find on Pinterest I want to share, and I thought of a very clever name. "Pinterest Stuff."

I mean, could I be any more imaginative?

1. Disney Tip - If you write a letter to a character at Disney (Walt Disney World Communications, P. O. Box 10040, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830-0040), they will send an autographed photo of the character to you and your child. (Love this idea, and wish it had been around when we had little ones.)

2. The 100 Most Beautiful Places in the World - Of course, I clicked on this heading to see how many of the 100 Most Beautiful Places in the World I have visited in my 52 years.


That's right. Two.

1. Lake Tahoe, Navada - I went the Summer before Mike and I became engaged to visit a friend who had recently married and moved to Sacramento, California.

2. Napa Valley, California - I visited Napa Valley during the same California trip.

I have to agree. Lake Tahoe and Napa Valley are two of the most beautiful places this chick has ever seen. However, it is a little depressing to know I am 98 locations shy of seeing these most beautiful places.

To my credit, I have actually heard of about 40 of the locations.

Also, to my credit, I can knock out about ten of the locations just by going to Arizona, Utah and Canada.

I just need to get busy.

3. Order an E-Book called More than a Movie Night (50 Ideas for Fun and Frugal Family Nights) by Janet Lynn Phillips. Go to to learn more about ordering the book. The following is an excerpt she shared on Pinterest.


Teaching our children to be thankful is an important part of parenting. It is all too easy to let kids spend their time telling you of all their wants instead of showing them to appreciate what they already have. It takes practice, though, to remember to recognize and verbalize the blessings we see all around us. What better way to spend the evening as a family than to think about and share all of the things that we are thankful for?

You will need the following:

Adding machine paper (available at office supply stores)
Pens and markers
Candy or other sort of prize/incentive

1. The goal of this activity is to see how long your family can make it's Thankfulness List.

2. Spend some time talking with your family about the importance of thankfulness.

3. Give examples of the big and small blessings in your life. This is not an activity meant to deal with specific and recent selfish/ungrateful behavior, but rather to encourage every one in the family to be more aware of the blessings that surround them each day.

4. Unroll the adding machine paper on the table or on a non-carpeted floor.

5. Each person takes a writing utensil and starts writing words or phrases to list things that he/she is thankful for. If there are young children that aren't able to write, let them dictate their words to a parent or older sibling.

6. Set a time frame for writing or give incentives (like candy or other special treat) for every 12 inches. Otherwise, it will be natural for a child to write one or two things and then say they cannot think of anymore.

7. Once everyone is done, take some time to read them aloud as a family. It is good for other family members to hear what others are thankful for, and it might help them to be thankful for that particular thing, too!

8. Hang your list in the house as a reminder of your abundant blessings.

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Manicotti

You will need the following:

1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed completely and squeezed dry
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
15 ounces ricotta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 box (12 to 14 shells) manicotti noodles
3 to 4 cups marinara sauce (a little more than 1 jar)
1/2 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, mix spinach, cheeses, eggs, salt and pepper. Stir together until well blended. (I put everything in my big mixer, and it worked really well.)

3. Place about 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce in a 9" x 13" pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom.

4. Place the mixed filling into a plastic bag. You can use either a frosting piping bag or a gallon ziplock bag. Snip the corner, gather the top and squeeze the filling into the corner. Hold an uncooked manicotti shell in your hand and squeeze the filling inside the shell. Let it overflow on both sides. Place the filled shell into the sauce-lined pan. Repeat with remaining manicotti and fill the pan with the stuffed shells, until you run out of shells and filling. You should be able to fill 12 to 14 shells. (I used the ziplock bag, and it did the trick. It was fun, too.)

5. Cover the pasta with marinara sauce, using about 2 1/2 cups of sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 cup Romano or Parmesan on top. At this point, you can cover with foil and refrigerate until you're ready to bake, or you can cover with foil and place it in the oven immediately.

6. Bake, covered with foil, 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

This was an excellent meal... and tasted even better as leftovers during the week. It received Five Faulkner Stars!

Weekend Happenings

1. Josh is coming home Friday. Austin is leaving home Friday. Roxie is going to a Girls' Night Out event our church is sponsoring. Mike and I are going to recover from a busy week.

Well, Mike's week has been busy, and my week has been centered around laundry... which isn't so much "busy" as "ever present."

2. Mike and I are planning on a breakfast/Pepper Place date tomorrow morning. We'll be home before the Auburn game comes on the telly.

3. Roxie would like to shop for a pair of jeans, and then her afternoon and evening consist of hanging with a friend.

4. Josh and Mike will continue to watch football from noon until it all ends sometime Saturday night.

5. We're going to church Sunday morning, and we'll see what Sunday afternoon has in store for all of us. I'm hoping the Crock Pot Fairy will appear Saturday night and throw some meat, vegetables and gravy into my empty crock pot for a delicious Sunday lunch, but sometimes she forgets to show up.

She's very flighty, that way.

Have a beautiful weekend. I'll be back Monday with Pepper Place pics, more Thanksgiving ideas (some things we're trying at our celebration this year) and more.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

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