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Friday, May 30, 2014

Weekend Happenings, Pinterest Stuff (Fun for Kids This Summer... $10 or Less) , Blog Linkage, Quotable Quotes

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Roxie leaves for Guatemala in less than a week. All of her clothes are ready. I have a list of the "other stuff" she needs which will be purchased this weekend... and then The Chick will be ready to fly, fly away.

She is so excited...

And nervous...

And a little scared...

And excited again.

Our church is praying for the Guatemala Mission Trip and all the people going Sunday morning. It hardly seems real that Roxie is old enough to get on a plane, fly to another country and do God's work for a week without her Mom.

Especially when you consider she looks like this...


Well, that's how I continue to see her.

Pink coat... big gun... very well-balanced Chick!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I'm excited. My One-a-Day-Instagram-Pic Project begins this Sunday, June 1, 2014. It's going to be epic.

I posted a picture Wednesday, and I immediately left a comment under the pic telling Roxie to like it.

I also remembered Roxie was eating with five friends, so I left another comment and instructed her to tell all of her friends to like it, too.

I obviously did it wrong, because when The Chick arrived home, she made a beeline straight for me.

"Mom. It's fine for you to be on Instagram, but you don't send messages to people in the Comment Section. You text if you want to send messages. You use the Comment Section to leave comments about the pictures OR to thank someone for leaving a comment about the picture."

"I know, but I knew you would check your Instagram and I was right there, so it seemed silly to pick up another device and text. I don't really care for The Texting," I replied.

"That's not the point. There is a very specfic way to 'do' social media, and you can't be going around breaking all the rules."

"Why? Will the Social Media Po-Po come knocking at my door?" I cheerfully asked.

And then The Chick walked away shaking her head.

I'm beginning to think raising a 52 year-old Mom may be too much for her!

RANDOMNESS #3 - Hunter graduated last night. Roxie did a very good job with his Graduation Gift, and I wanted to share a little part of it with you today.

She had four bags. A "G" bag, "R" bag, "A" bag and "D" bag. (It spells "GRAD.")

She got a pizza box from Domino's and placed 20 $1 bills in a circle inside. AND she added 14 pennies as "sausage." That gift represented 2014! And it was put in the "D" bag because "DOUGH."

Pretty good, huh?




RANDOMNESS #4 - A little "June 2013" to finish off our "May 2014."


We discovered Dreamcakes last June. It was a very good month.


Melia and Austin.


Melia and one of the pups we helped take care of last Summer.


Laughing Lauren.


We celebrated an anniversary with Becky and Guy.



We made our first (but not last) Slip and Slide, and Roxie tried it out before we did the 4th of July "thang."


We welcomed a new addition to our family (Mackenzie). (She was born May 21, but we didn't get to see her and hold her until June.)

Quotable Quotes

"Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny." C. S. Lewis

Blog Linkage

1. Go to www.kellehampton.com and read yesterday's guest post from Chrissy Kelly entitled, "The End of the World, The Beginning of a New One." It is about autism.

2. Go to www.missionalmotherhood.com and read today's post from Lindsey Wingo entitled, "The Toddler Tantrum."

Both very good posts.

Pinterest Stuff

Fun for Kids This Summer... $10 or Less

1. Stained Glass. Use a large piece of wax paper and have colored sharpies on the table. Color EVERY spot of the wax paper (color designs, abstract, pictures, etc.).

When the paper is dry, hang it in a window as stained glass. Beautiful.

2. Tin Foil River. Use a very, very long roll of tin foil to make a big river in the backyard. Be sure to fold up the sides of the foil so it will hold plenty of running water. Let the kids use the hose and enjoy the fun.

3. Sew. Using the base of an old coffee table, get a large piece of burlap and staple it to the bottom of the base of the table. Be sure to staple securely all the way around the edge. Have a basket of scraps of colorful yarn and some large plastic needles on hand.

Commence sewing.

Weekend Happenings

1. Mikie is still working on The Budget, so much of his weekend will be spent at the office. But don't worry about me. No, siree. I'm just fine, and I've made other plans. Saturday I'm visiting family and later I will be making a really good dinner for anyone who might want to partake.

Or I might just order pizza.

2. Sunday, I'll join our church in praying for the Guatemala Mission Team. After church, we're celebrating my Mother's Day with a lovely lunch at Dixie Fish Company. I am going to bask in the love and admiration of my husband and children for a couple of hours, and then I might do something crazy... like take a nap.

3. Austin and Roxie will be working at odd times throughout the weekend.

4. Josh has a Sunday School Cook-Out and some yardwork on his list.

5. And did I mention my Instagram project? Did I? That will begin SUNDAY!

Have a magnificent weekend. Spend precious time with family and friends. Encourage one another. Be careful what you put into your mind, your body and your day. Make wise choices... and I'll try very hard to do the same.

I'll be back Tuesday with pics, info and hopefully, a good report about what I spent precious time doing Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Instagraming Belinda

P.S. A little more of Mackenzie and Lauren!


The only thing cuter than the front of a birthday tutu...


Is the back of a birthday tutu!


Miss Lauren.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up, Way Back When..., Blog Linkage, Pinterest Stuff (Graduation Gift, 10 Things Children Should See in Their Parents' Marriage)

Good Tuesday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I continue to love The Instagram. As of this second, I have 91 followers, 4 "well thought out" posts, and I am following 199 other Instagramers.

I am still planning on doing a pic a day for a year beginning June 1, 2014, so feel free to follow me at "enchantingb."

RANDOMNESS #2 - There are only NINE more days until The Chick leaves for Guatemala.

I am totally beside myself.

We don't have much more to do, and to be honest, we'll probably finish everything tomorrow... EIGHT days before The Chick leaves for Guatemala.

I'm writing a letter (or two) a day for her to read while she is in another country.

Each envelope/letter will contain a picture of me AND a piece of gum.

The Chick LOVES gum.

We're supposed to drop the kids off at the church at 3:15 a.m. the day of departure. I haven't been up at 3:15 in the morning since the kids were newborns and needed a 3:00 a.m. bottle.

It's been awhile.

We won't be going to the airport, but we'll be saying our good-byes in the church parking lot.

I'm not happy about that.

No, sir. I am not.

When Austin went to London, I stood in the parking lot of the airport until a big airplane flew over my head and I waved at it.

"How do you even know that's the airplane The Boy is on?" Mikie asked me.

"I'm a Mother. I know things," I replied.

I also know June 5 through June 12 is going to be the longest week in my life.

My papers regarding the trip say we can pick the kids up in the church parking lot around 9:30 or 10:00 the night they come home, but I'm thinking I'll be in the airport lobby at 9:00 the night they come home.

And there will be signs and balloons and streamers... and maybe an air horn or two.

Are those allowed in an airport?

Probably not.

The Chick is looking forward to the trip.

The Mom is looking forward to the homecoming... and the pics.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Brad and Stephanie held a barbecue this past weekend for members of their wedding party.

While I am not an official member of the wedding party, I had a few of those important people in my family, and I sent them to the event with instructions to take a few pics...

And they did.

Roxie took these two.


Zac, Brad, Josh and Austin. The "handsome" is almost too much, isn't it?


Roxie and Brad. When there is a chick, there will always be a selfie.

RANDOMNESS #4 - Roxie is a officially a lifeguard. She has a whistle and everything.

We've never had a real lifeguard in the family before, so I am all over this one.

I'm not going up to the pool to take pictures this week, but I feel the need to be there first thing Monday to capture her in all of her lifeguard-like duties.

She may or may not blow the whistle at her Mom.

She may or may not have her whistle taken away from her by her Mom.

This idea may or may not end well.

RANDOMNESS #5 - Sweet Mackenzie had her first birthday party this past Sunday.

She was pretty, pleasant and photogenic.

All of the qualities you really, really want in a one year-old.


Mackenzie had a Cupcake Party.



She rocked the traditional Birthday Tutu.


Cousin Lauren was a perfect birthday guest.


Amber, Mackenzie and Jared... with the cutest red bathing suit I have ever seen.


She didn't cry, but she let her Mama know she did not care for her Birthday Hat.



While the "smash" cake was a success, Mackenzie didn't actually smash it. She was really quite ladylike in her eating of the cake. One finger swipe of icing at a time, thank you very much.

Blog Linkage

1. Go to eighteen25 under My Blog List and read yesterday's post entitled, "15 Super Fun Summer Ideas." I know I would have used at least two or three of these ideas "back in the day."

2. Go to www.missionalmotherhood.com and read yesterday's post entitled, "Treasuring the Time." I love the thoughts, scripture and especially the word "intentional" used in this blog post.

Pinterest Stuff

Graduation Gift

Once a month, put $20 in a photo album for each of your kids from the time they are born until they graduate from high school (or college). Give the album to them when they graduate. Great, great gift!

NOTE - If $20 is not doable, $10 or $5 a month will add up very nicely, too!

10 Things Children Should See in Their Parents' Marriage

NOTE - This was written by a very wise husband/father, and I have left all the wording "as is."

1. Affection - Cathy and I are very affectionate. I like having my kids see me holding their mom’s hand, hugging, kissing, cuddling, etc.

2. Saying “I’m sorry” - I want to be quick to use this phrase, and I want my kids to hear me say it.

3. Affirmation - This is my primary love language so it’s easy for me to dish out encouraging words. My kids get a lot of verbal affirmation, but they also hear me directing it toward my wife.

4. Attraction - I’ll regularly say, “Isn’t your mom beautiful?”

5. Time - Our kids know we like to spend time together. When they see us steal time away to sit in the backyard and talk, or go on a date night, or sneak away for the weekend, that’s a good message I want them to see.

6. Laughter - We laugh a lot in our house and my wife’s cute sense of humor cracks me up. I like having my kids see that my wife makes me laugh.

7. Respect - Opening the door for Cathy, saying “thank you” and “please” and showing her simple signs of respect.

8. Faith Conversations - We’re not always praying in front of our kids, but they hear and see our faith conversations, and know we’re always talking about Jesus and what it means to be a follower.

9. The Value of Friends - Our house is well worn from the traffic of friends in/out of our house. We love having people over. The Fields’ house is a regular hangout for some incredible friends.

10. Servanthood - I know my kids have had a better example in Cathy than with me because she’s the ultimate servant. She is always asking, “How can I help? What do you need to make life better?” Serving one another is seen in the daily, little things and there are many opportunities to serve.

Kids are always watching their parents’ marriage, and yet too many marriages underestimate the power of modeling! Children are taking daily recordings of what a marriage looks like and those recordings are definitely influencing and shaping their view of marriage.

NOTE - I love, love, love this... especially "Faith Conversations."

Way Back When...

I re-post things from time to time, so that isn't anything new.

However, A Simple Life is over five years-old now. Since I'm in a different season of life as a mother of young adults, I still want to share ideas that worked for me and mine "Way Back When," as well as let you know how things are going on this end of motherhood.

"Way Back When..." will be a regular section now. It will simply be a place to re-post OLD (but perhaps relevant) ideas from days past.

These two ideas were first posted in May of 2009.

Kidnap Dad

Since Mother's Day is over, you can do this for Dad on Father's Day.

Create a plan for kidnapping your Dad from his Saturday chores to have lunch together the day BEFORE Father's Day (so it will be a real surprise). You can let the kids pack a picnic lunch to eat at a nearby park, or go to Dad's favorite barbecue joint. You can take him bowling or fishing or biking or to a movie. Plan something you know he will enjoy doing with the kids.

It's more about giving the "gift of time" instead of buying a gift. As parents and children get older, the gift most moms and dads want is time with their kids... whether it is one-on-one time or time spent together as a family. If you ask for this kind of gift now, as the children become teens and young adults, they can continue planning ways to spend TIME with Dad (or Mom) on his/her special day.

VARIATION - If the kids are preschool or elementary age, they can use water pistols and masks to "kidnap Dad." You can have the car running and waiting as the children bring their very surprised Dad out the door. (As long as you have a Dad that doesn't get carsick, you could even blindfold him to make it a little more suspenseful.)

NOTE - We started doing this with Mikie three years ago. The kids pick the restaurant destination and the activity each year, and although we don't physically kidnap Mikie, we do surprise him with a "gift of time." He loves it.

Peach Park Date

This is a good date for a parent and child because it involves one-on-one time in the car. It's a 45-minute trek to Peach Park from our home. It is our tradition to stop on the way to the beach, and on the way back from the beach. We enjoy homemade ice cream and other goodies.

However, on a date it would be a great time to talk, talk, talk. While most people go to Peach Park for the ice cream and the sweets, they have WONDERFUL barbecue, too. It is a very relaxing place to have dinner, ice cream, swing in the big swings along the path beside the restaurant, or just rock in one of their big ol' rocking chairs and enjoy the breeze.

On the way home, have a CD with some of your favorite songs from when you were growing up. (Elvis and Barry Manilow for me!) Talk about anything and everything your little guy or girl wants to talk about. Listen and enjoy.

I truly hope you have the best Tuesday ever! I'll be back Friday with Weekend Happenings, Way Back When... and more.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, May 23, 2014

Weekend Happenings, Blog Linkage, Pinterest Stuff (Tips for Travel with Kids)

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - We hit a big milestone this past Wednesday, May 21. Go ahead and read the story below originally posted this time last year, and then we'll talk some more.

POST FROM MAY, 2013 - On Monday, you may remember I used the sentence, "I've heard it's going to be epic." I was referring to the Summer of 2013, and I meant "epic" in the fantastic, good, wonderful kind of way.

The events which have transpired since Tuesday afternoon of this week have most definitely been epic, but not in the way I had previously imagined.

It's going to be a little hard to follow, but do the best you can... and keep in mind, the only "big" thing originally planned for Tuesday was attending Katie's graduation from high school!

1. Around 3:10 Tuesday afternoon, Roxie left the house to visit her sweet friend, Taylor, for an hour or so. At 3:15 Tuesday afternoon, Roxie called me to say she had been in an accident in front of the Elementary School. She told me she was fine, but I needed to hurry.

I literally put on shoes and walked out the door... and proceeded to get behind the S-L-O-W-E-S-T driver in the history of the world. He might as well have been driving a horse and buggy (with an almost-expired horse pulling the buggy) from the end of my street to the accident scene.

I was very calm... until The Chick called again and said, "Are you ever going to get here? I need you."

And then I was no longer calm.

And I might have had a few non-Christian thoughts run through my head.

Because The Chick needed me, and I desperately needed to be with her, you see.

When I did arrive, Roxie was standing next to a police officer and her little red car (with a very crumpled up front end) was sitting in a church parking lot.




I hopped out of the van, ran/walked over to The Chick, put my hand on her back and immediately removed it.

Roxie was the picture of poise and calm on the outside, but just touching her back I could feel the trembling. If I had held her or patted her or comforted her in any way, she would have started crying... and Roxie HATES to cry in front of people.

So I stood very close to her and listened as the police officer and the crossing guard told me the accident was not her fault and she could not have prevented it. A driver in front of her slamming on his brakes unexpectedly caused the accident... and no one was hurt... and a car can be repaired... and My Chick was going to be just fine.

We had the car towed, took care of business at the auto repair shop, etc., etc. and we finally arrived home. We had lost over an hour of "get ready for graduation" time, so we were running to and fro beautifying... and we were exactly 30 minutes late for Katie's graduation.

Which wasn't bad, because we had planned on being 30 minutes early.

In other words, we walked in with the graduating Seniors.


Katie!

2. I'm going to backtrack just a little. You already knew my niece and nephew, Amber and Jared, were expecting a baby. The baby was due in June. HOWEVER, Mackenzie decided to make an early appearance as some babies tend to do, and all day Tuesday and during graduation, we were waiting to hear about her arrival.

Around 8:00 p.m. (toward the end of the graduation ceremony), Mike received a text from his sister saying Mackenzie had arrived at 6:20, but they didn't have any other details yet.

Right in the middle of one happy event, we were blessed with more happy news.

Tuesday was turning out to be a very good day.


Mackenzie... then.


Mackenzie... now.

3. Mom, Austin and Zac were riding with me in The Big Gold Van to Ruby Tuesday's in Trussville for a celebratory dinner with family and friends. Mike and Roxie were following behind (because he had driven to the graduation ceremony straight from work).

Halfway to our destination, two Sheriff cars passed us with lights on and sirens blaring.

Within seconds of their passing, Mike called and told me to pull over at the next exit and let Roxie get in the van.

"Why?" I asked.

"Just do it," he said, shortly.

Something was wrong.

I pulled over at a gas station three or four minutes later and jumped out of the van. Roxie was climbing out of Mike's car crying.

The only thing I could think of was Baby Mackenzie, and I ran to Mike and asked him if the baby and Amber were okay.

"It's not the baby. It's Josh. There's been an armed robbery at the store, and his hand may be broken. He's okay other than his hand, but we have to go."

I ran back to the van, told Austin to take everyone to Katie's party and to stay close to Roxie and make sure everyone was okay. I would call him as soon as I talked to Josh and give him details.

We didn't talk much on the way to the store, but at some point during the five minute trip, Mike reached for his phone, looked at it and passed it to me.

A picture of our new great-niece, Mackenzie, was on the screen. She and Amber were doing well. She was tiny, but healthy and beautiful.

As soon as we arrived at the store, we spotted Josh. He walked over to the car holding his hand, and as I got out of the car and ran to him, Mike called over my shoulder, "Josh, tell Mom what happened."

And he did.

Two masked robbers (one male and one female) came into the store just as it was time to close. They made everyone get on the floor.

The male made the manager open the safe... and then the female made Josh get off the floor, put a gun in his face, and told him to put the "code" in to open the registers.

Josh told her there wasn't a code... it needed a key. He didn't have a key.

She was shaking badly and the gun was pointed at Josh's face. He was afraid she was going to accidentally pull the trigger, so he reached up and pushed the gun hand down away from his face.

She screamed and the man ran over. Josh pulled the woman in front of him so the man wouldn't shoot. He then fell to the floor and put his hands over his head... and the man beat his head (his hands were covering his head) with the pistol handle... again and again.

The manager saw what was happening to Josh, yelled, "Here's the money!" and the two grabbed the money and ran out the door.

The paramedics checked Josh's hand and because it was so swollen (and he could still move his fingers), they said to ice it overnight and let the swelling go down before we had an X-ray taken the next day.

He had a cut on his shoulder, a knot on the back of his head and his back and knee were pulled from falling to the floor the second time.

Other than that, he was physically okay.

4. Wednesday, Josh and I spent some mother/son time at the Emergency Room getting X-rays. We'll have to double check next week with an orthopedic when the swelling goes down more, but right now it looks like there are no broken bones in his hand.

God takes care of us every day, but Tuesday of this past week, He was all over our family.

We are blessed.

I've learned two things during the past week, and I'll pass them along in case you or a family member are ever involved in a violent crime.

LESSON NO. 1 - In our case, we had talked to Josh and knew he was basically okay. However, it was wrong of me and Mike to send Roxie, Austin and family to a party. I cannot tell you how many times I've heard, "I just need to 'see' Josh." And that's what has happened this week. Everyone has 'seen' and 'touched' and 'held' Josh.

After a violent crime, it is important to be able to do those things.

LESSON NO. 2 - The security tape of the robbery and part of Josh's attack was played on two newscasts for Crime Stoppers Wednesday. And I watched it. And I watched it again. And I watched it in slow motion.

And I literally became sick to my stomach.

For me, as Josh's Mom, there was no need for me to see the crime. Lesson No. 2 may not apply to you and yours, but think about it if you are ever put in that position.

I experienced some very strong emotions watching Josh being robbed, and although they cut most of the actual attack, knowing what happened next was too much for me.

What's next?

Josh returns to work today. This is his decision... definitely not mine. Prayers, please.

The criminals have not been captured yet. More prayers, please.

ONE YEAR LATER - They never captured the robbers. As far as we know, they never even came close.

Josh continued to work for Fred's until he moved to Hanceville in August of 2013 while attending Wallace.

Although the employees at the store were very good to Josh (before and after the robbery), this Mom was happy when that chapter of his life closed, and he moved on to something different.



We had a little "I Survived a Pistol-Whippin' at Fred's" Party Wednesday night after church. Friends and family gathered around to eat cake and celebrate Josh for a little while in the middle of a busy week.

And while it may not be an annual event, I think it did need to be remembered "one more time."

On May 21, 2013, our family had much to be thankful.

Much like May 21, 2014!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I know the following will be shocking information, but after "being on" Instagram for a little more than a week, I am hooked.

Love, love, love The Instagram.

I have posted three pictures so far, and I'm planning my fourth as we speak!

Also, I have an idea I wanted to run past you...

I have posted a picture a day FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR on two separate blogs (check under My Blog List for Belinda's Project 365 and Belinda's Project Life). I started on a third year, but my blog "shut down" in the middle of the project, and I wasn't able to complete it.

What if I did the same thing on Instagram beginning June 1, 2014 and posted a pic every day until June 1, 2015?

Wouldn't that be fun?

I'm glad you think so, too.

Beginning June 1, 2014, I will be posting a pic a day for the next 365 days to document my life.

And just so you know, it's going to be more interesting than usual because the following events are scheduled to take place within that year:

1. Roxie is going to Guatemala for the first time, so there will be sad, sad pictures of her leaving and joyous, joyous pics of her returning to her Mama!

2. Stephanie and Brad are getting married in September and Austin and Melia are getting married in October. There will be multitudes of pictures of all of the events leading up to the two weddings.

3. Roxie will be a Senior for the first time ever, AND she will be graduating next Spring.

4. Josh will be attending JSU for the first time ever.

5. We're having massive renovations done to our home during this time period.

And those are just some of the "new" things which will be happening. All of the holidays, birthdays, etc., etc. will be celebrated as usual... and photographed.

If you want to go ahead and get on the Instagram Train, you can begin following me today at "enchantingb." I won't mind one little bit.

And I'll be happy to follow you right back.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Roxie is doing a Pinterest thing and covering her walls in pictures. As you can imagine, I like it.

I like it a lot.


She'll be adding a new "batch" of pics at the end of every month throughout her Senior year.

That's the plan, at least.

Blog Linkage - Go to www.missionalmotherhood.com and read any and all posts you haven't already read. This blog is going to help/encourage/motivate so many moms out in cyberspace. It is wonderful!

Pinterest Stuff

Tips for Travel with Kids

Mike and I were road trip people before kids, and we definitely remained road trip people with kids. The following tips are great if you're just starting the "road trip thang," or if you are seasoned veterans like us.

1. Slow down. Plan for a slower pace than you might usually attempt if solo or as a couple. Be realistic about what you can see and do with kids in tow. DO NOT cram too much into your itinerary. The less you feel you have to see, the more enjoyable and stress-free for everyone.

For the most part, the pace of the trip should be set to what your youngest child can handle. Build into your agenda time for stops along the way for bathroom breaks, snack breaks and nap time. If you can avoid cranky children it will make for a much more pleasant experience. (Amen, and amen!)

2. Be flexible. (With everything, everyday and everyone. Be FLEXIBLE.)

3. Stay at a hotel with a pool and/or game room. Kids love both of these options. Does the pool have any special features like a slide or waterfalls. (Remember, staying at a "fun" hotel is as much a part of the vacation to the kids as going to a lot of different activities.)

4. Stay at hotels that offer continental breakfast. Brink snacks from home (juice boxes, peanut butter crackers, cheese sticks, fruit, etc.). If your family enjoys sandwiches and picnics, bring the ingredients for simple lunch or dinner picnics (bread, peanut butter, jelly, etc., etc.).

5. Do the free stuff. Many things to see and enjoy are absolutely free. See a street fair, concert or cultural event. Catch a sunset, take a walk or bike, play in the park, swim at the beach or lake, climb a mountain.

Attend museums and tourist sites on FREE DAYS or when they are discounted.

6. Learn a new skill together. Life is "all about the memories." By doing something new together, your children will be impressed with your sense of adventure and curiosity. Learn to kayak, snorkel, surf or spot wildlife in nature. Find something that is new to all of you and share the joy of learning together.

7. Travel with an open mind.

8. Expect the unexpected. Attitude is everything. No matter how much you plan and prepare, things can and will go wrong. Just go with the flow and everything will work out. Good or bad, an experience will make a memory which will last a lifetime. Make sure how you react to the experience makes for a good memory.

9. You were a kid once. Try and put yourself in your kids' shoes. Remember what you were like as a small child or teenager, and how you liked to travel and the things you enjoyed doing.

All of these tips came from www.ytravelblog.com. Great, great resource.

Weekend Happenings

1. Mikie will be working on Budget this weekend. No surprise there. If it is May, it is also BUDGET TIME!

2. Roxie is having a multitude of chicks over Friday night to celebrate the end of the school year. These girls aren't Juniors any longer.

THEY ARE SENIORS!

Be still my heart.

3. Austin and Josh will be scrambling to get out of the house Friday night. (And I don't blame them!)

4. Roxie will be working Saturday for her first time as an official lifeguard for Summer 2014. She is more than ready and I'm happy for her. Your first job is always so exciting, isn't it?

5. Stephanie and Brad are having a "Meet the Wedding Party BBQ" on Saturday night, so some of us will be attending that fun event.

6. Mackenzie will be celebrating her first birthday with a party in Oxford on Sunday afternoon, and I'm definitely going to represent the family. It's a Cupcake Party. Cannot wait!

Sometime this weekend, Roxie and I are going to try to finish up any and all shopping for her Guatemala trip which will be here before I know it.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the trip.

I'm still having a great deal of difficulty with the wrapping of my head.

Have a wonderful, long Memorial Day Weekend. I'll be back Tuesday with Mackenzie's First Birthday pics, some pics from Brad and Stephanie's cookout and a little of this and a little more of that.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up, Pinterest Stuff (Dates)

Good Friday afternoon!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Melia graduated from Samford University Saturday afternoon!


The Graduate!


The Graduate... and her fiance'.


The front of the Commencement Program.


We ate at DreamLand after graduation, and Austin got a little excited we were having banana pudding.


Melia and her sweet roommate, Sara, in their Samford Alumni t-shirts.

To say we are thrilled for her would be an understatement.

RANDOMNESS #2 - You may or may not know... I love Pinterest.

As of this time, I have 85 boards.

That means I have 85 "subjects" that interest me, and I pin things on these boards.

Someone has said, "You can tell what a person's passion is by looking at their Pinterest boards and seeing which board has the most pins."

Okay.

Here are my Top Five Boards:

174 Pins - Christmas
177 Pins - Main Dish
188 Pins - Things I've Done Because of Pinterest
198 Pins - Future Grandkid Ideas

AND THE NUMBER ONE BOARD I ENJOY PINNING...

235 Pins - Dessert

It would appear I am crazy about sweets and intend on fixing hundreds of recipes for children who do not exist at this time.

And I will serve them dinner after they eat their sweets, but only during the Christmas Season.

I have issues, I know.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Just Josh.



RANDOMNESS #4 - Just me and Mikie.


Is it just me, or does Mikie keep getting younger and younger looking...

And I continue to look like a chick in my 50s?

My early 50s...

But 50s nonetheless.

Sometimes life is NOT fair.

Pinterest Stuff

Dates (Things To Do Together Other Than Watch a Movie)

1. Raid your refrigerator and pantry, and do a television-style food competition. (Think Chopped or Iron Chef.)

2. Do random acts of kindness all over town. Buy someone's coffee for them, leave kind notes, etc.

3. Do a workout video together!

4. Take each other on in some kind of challenge (an eating contest, beat each other's score at a video game, run a race, etc.).

5. Do something out of your comfort zone (rock climbing, playing golf, etc.).

I would be willing to try any or all of the above. I'll have to check with Mike and see what he thinks.

Have a delightful Tuesday. I'll be back Friday with a new super healthy snack recipe. (I'm trying it out on Josh this very afternoon!) I'll also have Weekend Happenings and some more Graduation ideas!

Oh. And I'm learning all about The Daniel Plan in Bible Study, so I have a few things to say about that major lifestyle change.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, May 16, 2014

Weekend Happenings, Quotable Quotes, Pinterest Stuff (Graduation Ideas)

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Tommy turned 51 on the 8th, but we just celebrated the momentous occasion this past Tuesday night. (A giant kidney stone kind of messed up our regularly-scheduled plans.)


Katie and Roxie at the Seafood and Chicken Box Restaurant in Trussville. It was Uncle Tommy's birthday so he got to pick.


Roxie and Mikie.

Obviously love hurts...

A lot.


That's better.


Zac and Josh having the time of their lives.


Brad and Stephanie...

Not the best pic of Brad.


Much, much better.


Melia and Austin.


We love us some Uncle Tommy!


We've taken better family pictures, but we have learned to take what we can get.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Mike and I are starting a little renovation project this Summer.

And when I say "starting a little renovation project," I mean we are hiring someone to come into our home and tear apart and rebuild some particularly older areas of our older home.

And when I say "particularly older areas of our older home," I mean all of the bathrooms... the kitchen... the popcorn ceilings... etc.

I may or may not have had a small (but complete) total mental meltdown yesterday when everyone came in to measure and discuss and brainstorm.

I know the next few weeks are going to be chaotic, messy and loud.

I know this because I watch Property Brothers and Flip That House and Love It or List It on a regular basis.

No matter how bad it is though, on those three shows, at the end of 60 minutes everything is always okay.

Except in my world, it will be more like 21 to 60 days.

I can't even begin to wrap my head around it!

On the positive side, it will be fantastic when it is over AND I get to take "BEFORE" and "AFTER" pics for the blog as we go.

I bet you didn't expect TWO positives from me, did you?

RANDOMNESS #3 - The Chick leaves for Guatemala three weeks from yesterday.

She is so excited, and I don't know how to tell her I've changed my mind and she is no longer allowed to go.

She is grounded from Guatemala.

I don't think she's going to take the news very well, but deep down I think we all knew I would never let her leave the country at such a young and impressionable age, didn't we?

And in answer to your question, "Yes. I need more prayer, please."

RANDOMNESS #4 - So, in addition to renovating our home and getting ready for Austin and Melia's wedding (which in my case is just finding the perfect Mother of the Groom Dress AND planning a really fantastic Rehearsal Dinner), I am also working on not one, but TWO, special "picture projects."

One is due by the end of July.

One is due by the end of August.

Both of these deadlines have been set by me, so it isn't like I can't be a little lenient if I run behind or something.

I'm secretly hoping these projects will help me keep my sanity during the renovation process because I'm actually looking forward to making the ideas in my head actually happen.

Wish me luck!

Quotable Quotes

"You used to be much more... 'Muchier.' You've lost your muchness." Alice in Wonderland

I don't know why. This just fit my mood this morning!

Pinterest Stuff

Graduation Ideas

1. Have all the guests at your Graduation Party bring a memory picture of two. Have the guests pin the pics on a bulletin board to hang in your dorm room.

2. Give the graduate a sweet gift full of candy bars! Attach the following note to the gift:

You "rock"! After completing "mounds" of homework and "piecing" together all of your knowledge, you've finally hit "payday." GRADUATION! As you head off to college, don't listen to any "snickers." You are no "dum dum." You are one "hot tamale" on your "way" to making "100 grand." Congratulations on your graduation, "Smartie."

Be sure to add a Gift Card or two to this fun gift!

3. Give rolled up dollar bills in a Light Bulb Money Holder. Brighten your grad's day with this unexpected presentation. Roll up the dollar bills and then fold them in half (to prevent them from unrolling inside of the jar). Place them in this light bulb jar from Hobby Lobby and tighten the screw cap lid. Attach a ribbon with a cute phrase like "Here's to your bright future." (Tip - If the dollar bills are stuffed tight inside the jar, suggest he/she use tweezers to remove them later on.)

Weekend Happenings

1. Austin is calling a girls' softball tournament today in Montgomery. As you can imagine, he was pretty pumped at 6:30 this morning when he headed out the door.

2. Josh is going to see Godzilla tonight with a couple of friends. I didn't know Godzilla was a big deal, but apparently I live under a rock.

3. Roxie is going to be doing life-guard-type things at the pool tomorrow morning, so her Summer job has officially begun.

4. Melia is graduating from college Saturday, so we will all be in attendance. Later that evening, we will be partaking of a delicious Southern-style dinner in town. (I'll tell you all about it Tuesday!)

5. Sunday is "Church Day," and maybe, just maybe, "Nap Day."

It's going to be a pretty busy weekend. Busy, but fun.

Have the best May weekend ever. I'll be back Tuesday with Graduation pics and words and a few more "this and that" kind of info.

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

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. I remembered I still had to write a little something about what Josh inherited from my gene pool. That's what happens when you go out of birth order... You leave someone out, and have a nagging feeling you've forgotten something or someone for a few days before you finally remember at 2:00 a.m. one morning.

I'm out of time today, but I'll get right on it Tuesday!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up, Oreo Rice Krispie Treats, Blog Linkage

Good Tuesday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Team Tootsie completed the Fun Run at the MotherWalk Saturday morning...

And here are the pics to prove it!


Boas and tulle and teal... Oh, my!

This Chick wasn't with us, but she was definitely supporting everyone at the Walk.


Josh looked like he was in quite a bit of pain, but he finished 3rd out of our little group who ran in the 5K.

And just for the record, we had eight from our team who participated in the 5K AND the Fun Run.

And just for the record again, I am not included in that number!


Hunter and Roxie finished 1st and 2nd (respectively) running in the 5K out of our group.


Sweet Taylor joined us on the Walk this year, too.


I don't know who this bundle of preciousness was, but she was so sweet!



Now those are "runner's legs."


Grandmother and her friend, Katherine.


Mom's friend, Marie. And Marie brought along Melinda, Tyce and Asher (her daughter and two grandsons). Asher is pictured in the Team Tootsie pic. He is five months old and he "strolled" the MotherWalk with a little help from his big brother.


Everyone crossed the Fun Run Finish Line together!


Grandmother and Austin (with Roxie photobombing for your viewing pleasure).


ME!


Just Zac.


Grandmother, Tommy, Roxie, Bev, Josh and Taylor.

"Why aren't Beverly and Tommy wearing MotherWalk shirts?" you ask.

Well, interesting little story here...

Last Monday night, Bev and I were subbing in Grandmother's Bunco group. Everything was peachy keen until the last lady left for the evening, and I walked inside to find Bev leaning over a chair in the living room.

"This isn't good," she said.

Bev had a kidney stone seven years ago.

Her first and only.

It was very, very bad.

Bad enough to remember and know she had another kidney stone last Monday night.

Tommy picked her up and took her to the ER. They confirmed her diagnosis, gave her pain meds and sent her home to pass the stone within two days.

On Thursday, she still had not passed the stone, so she set up an appointment for the doctors to BLAST the stone.

Friday afternoon, the stone was pronounced too large to pass and the BLASTING took place.

Bev came home about 11:00 p.m. Friday night...

And she didn't feel like coming to the MotherWalk at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning.

Thankfully, she was able to come for the lunch part at Cracker Barrel, and today, Tuesday, May 13, she is back to her old non-kidney stone self.

Our first prayer request is that Bev NEVER have a kidney stone again.

Our second prayer request is that if Bev DOES have another kidney stone, it will be another seven years before it shows up.


Team Tootsie!

We'll be even bigger next year.


And last, but not least, Grandmother's teal toes!

RANDOMNESS #2 - As is our tradition now, we celebrate Mother's Day with Grandmother at the MotherWalk and lunch afterward.

We celebrate Mrs. Faulkner on Sunday, Mother's Day.

Everyone was able to be there, and my day was made because I got to see Matthew, Lauren AND Mackenzie.


Matthew.


Lauren.


Lauren discussing something VERY important with Cousin Roxie.


Lauren, Brandi, Becky, Grandma and Matthew.


Mackenzie and Amber.

Fun fact for you... Mackenzie will be one year-old next week.

This year has flown.


Grandma, Mackenzie and Grandpa.

Although I received my Mother's Day corsage and gifts, we're doing the out-to-eat thing for my Mother's Day this coming weekend.

I'll have pictures and words for that particular event next Tuesday.

I bet I know what you're thinking.

"Is everything an 'event' to you, Enchanting Belinda?"

"Yes. Yes, it is. Well, unless it is a 'celebration,' 'life experience' or an 'adventure.' Those three things are totally different."

A little special wording can make the ordinary much more appealing, don't you think?

RANDOMNESS #3 - Roxie finally allowed me to start an Instagram account!

Since we all know I don't know how to start an Instagram account, she pretty much did all the work herself.

For better or worse, I am now on another Social Media site.

In other news, I also posted my very first selfie.

My first impression would have to be, "I don't particularly like The Selfie, and I may never post another one as long as I live."

I may change my mind, but I kinda doubt it.

Don't worry. I have no desire to try Twitter, but as I've learned in the past, NEVER SAY NEVER!

Blog Linkage - Click on eighteen25 under My Blog List and read today's post entitled, "10 Fun Graduation Ideas."

That "event," "life experience" and/or "adventure" is fast approaching, and there are some cute, doable things to try for the graduate in your life.

Oreo Rice Krispie Treats

I made these for dessert for our Mother's Day lunch at Grandma's this past Sunday, and they were delicious.

Of course, I'm just a little bias when it comes to the Oreo cookie.

I have never in 52 years on this Earth put anything better in my mouth.

Please take into consideration I have never tried a fried Oreo...

But it is on my Bucket List.

Again, I bet I know what you are thinking.

"Eating a fried Oreo is on your bucket list?"

"Yes. Yes, it is. I even made a new category for it. 'Life-CHANGING Experience.'"

But I digress.

You will need the following items for this really simple, yet yummy dessert:

5 tablespoons butter
2 packages (10.5 ounces) marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
3 cups crushed Oreos

1. In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add 1 bag of marshmallows, PLUS 1 cup from the second package of marshmallows. Stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

2. Add cereal. Stir until well coated.

3. Add Oreos. Stir until well coated.

4. Using buttered spatula or wax paper, evenly press mixture into 13" x 9" pan coated with cooking spray. Cool.

I hope you have a fantastic Tuesday. I'll be back Friday with Weekend Happenings, pics and words to go with Tommy's 51st Birthday Celebration and a list of some different things which will be going on this Summer in our little family. I have half-jokingly named the Summer of 2014 the Summer of Chaos... And I'll tell you why the end of the week!

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda
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