Friday, June 27, 2014

Weekend Happenings, Quotable Quotes, Pinterest Stuff (Books to Read in a Tent), Way Back When... (Indian Brave Party)

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Are you ready for some basketball?

I know. It is only June, but we're having Basketball Camp this week, so the following pics will have to hold you until November.

And that will be here before you know it.

Claire, Roxie and Alyssa.

Claire, Roxie and Alyssa.

Come to Kelci!

Roxie getting some lovin' from a teammate's sister in between games. Sweet, sweet little girl.

RANDOMNESS #2 - The Chick had her Senior Pics made yesterday.

As a wise man once said, "That just ain't right."

A few of weeks ago, I spotted a smallish cornfield on a side street. Since Roxie was going to be wearing denim for one of her Senior outfit changes, I asked her if she could give me five minutes... on the side of the road... in a field of corn.

Surprisingly, she said, "Sure."

I don't want to sound ungrateful or anything, but it would have been great if the farmer whose land we were trespassing on at the time would have brought out a John Deere tractor for a couple of shots.

Just saying.

As far as cornfield photos go, I was pleased!

Quotable Quotes - Mikie sent these to me yesterday. I'm not sure why he thought I'd be interested, but some of them were pretty funny... and unfortunately, true.

My wife and I had words, but I didn't get to use mine.

Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.

God made man before woman so as to give him time to think of an answer for her first question.

I was always taught to respect my elders, but it keeps getting harder to find one.

Pinterest Stuff

Books to Read in a Tent

Are you going camping? Or just pitching a tent in the backyard? Take some of these books along for flashlight reading or a bedtime story around the campfire.

1. Curious George Goes Camping by Margret and H. A. Rey

Get ready for some fun and antics as The Man in the Big Yellow Hat takes George camping! George tries to be helpful, but problems arise. Young kids identify with George who is always trying to be helpful, but sometimes it doesn't quite work out.

2. S Is for S'mores: A Camping Alphabet by Helen Foster James

A fun A to Z exploration of what to pack, where to go and things to do on a campout. The book is a fun read for any family planning a camping trip with many descriptions of fun activities that kids enjoy. Sidebars offer some great historical and science facts for older kids too!

3. A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee by Chris VanDusen

Mr. Magee and his dog Dee head out for a camping trip that ends up having some bad results! How will they get out of this slippery situation? Kids will enjoy the outlandish experiences Mr. Magee must face on his campout, along with the great illustrations in this book.

4. Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping by Peggy Parish

Enjoy the hilarious results as Amelia Bedelia sets off on a camping trip! She tries her best to pitch a tent and catch a fish, but can't understand why things are going so wrong. These kids books are a great way to introduce kids to the ways words can be easily misunderstood.

5. Henry and Mudge and the Starry Night by Cynthia Rylant

Enjoy hiking, campfires and sleeping under the stars with Henry, Mudge and Henry's parents. Early readers will love this Easy Reader adventure book that highlights some of the great experiences of spending some time in a tent.

6. The Camping Trip that Changed America by Barb Rosenstock

A lesser-known story from American history, this kids book tells how President Theodore Roosevelt and naturalist John Muir take a camping trip to Yosemite in 1903. The result of the trip was the creation of the National Parks system in America. A great book that explains how the National Parks were started and why we should appreciate the opportunities they offer all who visit.

7. A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements

A 5th grade school class sets off for their week-long campout. When Mark is accused of breaking a rule by his science teacher, he runs off into the woods, angry that no one will hear his explanation. His teacher sets off to find him and both are forced to survive until they can be found. A great on-the-edge-of-your-chair read for kids who enjoy adventure books!

8. The Boxcar Children: The Camp-Out Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Henry, Jesse, Violet and Benny are going on a camping trip with Grandfather. When they hear loud music in the middle of the night and their lantern disappears, they realize they have a mystery to solve. One in a series of classic kid-friendly mysteries, this is a great read-aloud for your camping trip.

Way Back When...

Indian Braves Party

Introduce the boys and girls to Native American culture with this fun-filled party. The young braves will enjoy wearing their colorful feather headbands, playing Indian games and making Indian crafts. The theme, from Joshua 1:9, centers on bravery. "Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

Suggested Size: 5 to 10 kids
Suggested Time of Day: Morning or afternoon
Type: Boys, girls or mixed
Ages: 2 through 5
You will need:

Construction paper
Poster board


Cut 5" triangles out of poster board and tape three toothpicks at the top of each. Cover the triangles with fabric and cut small flaps to open in the middle. The party information will be written inside the tepees and should read as follows:

Chief __________(Child's Name)____________ invites young braves to a powwow.
RSVP to Squaw:_____________________


Make a tepee using three 5' plywood boards. Attach them together at the top using rope. Put a bed sheet around the frame or purchase some fabric to staple to the frame. Place the tepee in the backyard or in the main room for the party.

For the front door of your house, make an Indian face out of poster board. Add black construction paper hair and a headband with a feather. Draw the eyes, nose and mouth. On the headband write the word "How."

Inside your house, place arrows made from poster board or purchase inexpensive toy arrows from the toy store. Hang the arrows on the walls to point the way to the activities. Party colors are red, black and turquoise. Purchase balloons, streamers and paper goods in these colors.

If you have access to large rolls of paper or fabric, you could make a large triangle tepee to put on the front door. Cut it in the middle for the children to walk through as they enter the party.


15 Minutes - Arrive and dress up
20 Minutes - Indian games
20 Minutes - Powwow
15 Minutes - Open Presents
15 Minutes - Free play

Arrive and Dress Up - Greet each young Indian with a "How." Give him an Indian headband made out of construction paper and paper feathers. After presenting your guest with his headband, tell him to follow the arrows to join the rest of the kids. During arrival time, have the following activities for the kids.

1. Indian Vests - Make Indian vests out of brown grocery sacks. Cut a slit up the front of the sack and cut around the bottom of the sack to make the hole for the head. Cut an arm hole on each side and fringe on the edges of the sack. Let the kids decorate and color their vests with markers.

2. Indian Names - Help the children think of Indian names to call themselves. Each child should think of his or her talents and relate them to an animal. They can come up with names such as Running Horse, Fast Deer, or Singing Cow. Write their Indian names on their headbands and vests. (NOTE: When we had this party, Mike picked the name "Chief Pickabugga." As you can imagine, the boys loved it. Me... not so much.)

3. War Paint - Apply Indian war stripes using lipstick and eye pencils.

Indian Brave Games - Direct the children in several running races. Give stickers as prizes to be placed on the vests of everyone who finishes. Give the first place winner a feather for his headband.

The games can be simple races to prove their bravery and speed. Start off with a running race. Then have the kids hop from start to finish. They can race running backwards and then running sideways. You could also make a race in which they roll to the finish line.

Give the kids a small ball made of crumpled-up foil (the Indians used roots from trees), and kick the ball from start to finish.

Play Bear Hide and Seek. Have one child become the bear who hides while all of the Indians count to 20. Then all of the Indians seek the bear. When someone spots the bear, he shouts, "I found the bear," and everyone runs for home base. The first person to touch home base becomes the next bear.

Powwow - Tell the young braves to all sit Indian style in a circle. Introduce the children to some Indian food, such as beef jerky, cornbread, popcorn and berries. Let the kids have a small portion of each. Serve the birthday cake with a tepee and Indian figures on top. (See cake ideas below.)

Use this time to tell the boys the Indians were very proud of their bravery. Say, "It was a great honor to be considered a brave Indian. What does it mean to be brave? Do you know the Bible encourages us to be brave with God's strength? Listen as I read what God told Joshua before the Israelites were about to go into the Promised Land."

Read Joshua 1:9. Have the verse written on a colorful poster even if the children cannot read yet. Ask the children if they want to be brave. Tell them to remember God can give them the courage they need when they are following Him.

Open Presents - Put all of the presents in the tepee. Tell all the children to sit in front of the tepee. When you call a name (do not forget to use the Indian name), that child should go into the tepee and come out with his present and give it to the birthday child.

Free Play - Allow the kids to play with their ponies and bow and arrow sets. You may also want to set out some small plastic cowboy and Indian figures. You also have time to play Bear Hide and Seek again.


Beef jerky
Water bottles (Indians drank a lot of water)

Cake - Use your favorite recipe or mix to bake a rectangular cake. Ice the cake with vanilla or chocolate icing. Make several tepees on the top of the cake using ice cream cones (upside down) with toothpicks sticking out of the top. Place some of the plastic Indians on the top of the cake. Make a lake using blue icing. Put a paper canoe in it. (I made this cake for Josh's 4th birthday. It was easy AND very cute.)


Favor bags - Use brown paper lunch sacks and cut fringe on top
Headbands, feathers and vests
Bow and arrow sets
Plastic Indian figures
Stone arrowheads
Beef jerky
Microwave popcorn for later

This party was a huge success. The games were great because when it was time for the Powwow, snacks and opening presents, the boys were tired and calm.

Also, the party was taken from Parties With a Purpose by Karol Ladd. Although I have tried over the years to order more of these books, I have been unable to find them in print. However, when I checked on Amazon.com last night, they did have them for sale (new AND used). If you have children (small up to teenagers), this is the book for you. It has over 80 parties for every sex and every age group. I personally used ten parties out of this book for my own kids (and I recommended many more to friends and family.)

Mikie really got into the party.

War paint. Simple to put on and even easier to take off.

The headbands and vests were a big hit back in the day. Josh and friends decorated everything!

Indians ate bagged microwave popcorn... Right?

Weekend Happenings

1. Mikie and I have a Sunday School Social tonight and we're going to a Barons Baseball Game. That's right. We're going to have fellowship, baseball food and fun.

And I think we get to sit in the shade.

It has all the makings of a lovely evening.

2. Josh, Austin and Zac are planning on seeing Transformers. I must be getting old because I don't have a desire to join them.

3. Roxie has Basketball Camp today and tomorrow, so she'll be doing a lot of dribbling.

4. Saturday is up in the air for me and Mikie right now. The kids will all be working and/or Basketball Camping, so if we play our cards right, we might get to have a date.

5. Sunday is church day, and after that, I have no idea.

I have the makings of a lovely weekend, Folks. I hope you do, too.

Have a stupendous weekend, and I'll try to do the same. I'll be back Tuesday with the World's Longest Blog Post... so much to talk about, and so little time!

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


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. This crow was sitting on my deck yesterday afternoon. It was incredibly loud... and large.

So I bravely took a picture from my kitchen.

It looks like a crow statue, doesn't it?

A big, black, scary crow statue.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up, Blog Linkage, Way Back When... (College Orientation)

Good Tuesday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - My little sister, Bev turns 49 today, but we celebrated her birthday Sunday with the family.

Roxie is in charge of Aunt Bev's cake each year, but The Chick has not slowed down since arriving home from Guatemala. Her work schedule didn't permit her to bake and decorate the birthday cake, so I took it upon myself to make an absolutely gorgeous birthday cupcake cake.

I know it looks kind of like a colorful "9," but it is actually a flower. If I hadn't forgotten to put the big green leaf I had cut out beside the stem, everyone would have known it was a flower.

You might notice the runny icing, too. I'm working on a marshmallow creme icing, and I haven't found the right consistency yet, but I am still trying.

Also, I am the huge Winnie-the-Pooh fan, not Bev.

I tend to make cakes I would want to receive. I stay more motivated and interested in the process when it's all about ME!

Anyway, it wasn't the prettiest cake, but it was made with love, so in the end, I hope she liked it.

Bev is so lucky to have me gently guide her into her 50s. A lot of older sisters would probably just leave their younger siblings hangin', but not me.

No, siree.

I'm a giver!

Plus, I like messing with her whenever an opportunity arises.

I took just a couple of pics at the party because there will be major pictures taken next week during our 4th of July Celebration, and I just didn't want to bore you with too much US.

Roxie and Brad. I don't know why. They were just standing still, so I snapped it.

Roxie and Mikie. Sometimes they are too much alike.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I just wanted to give you a short list of upcoming Summer posts. The list will keep me honest, motivated and focused.


1. The 4th of July is quickly approaching. I'm going to have a lot to say about this holiday and the things we have planned to celebrate this year.

Remember last year's Slip 'n Slide? That's not on the agenda this year, but hopefully, what I have planned will be just as fun.

2. I'm going to post some pics and words from Roxie's Guatemala trip, and the impact it has made on her life.


How can pictures like this be posted without the stories behind them.

It's just taking some time getting everything ready.

3. The house is still scheduled for major renovation in August.

4. The weddings are approaching fast and furious, and while they are not "Summer" weddings, a lot of fun stuff is going to be happening in July and August in preparation for the big days.

5. We have a few days called "vacation" coming up, and there will be stories and pics from that, I hope.

These are just a few pics from our 2013 trips to Guntersville and the beach.

6. I'm working on two stories right now regarding my "season of life" with adult and "nearly" adult children. They are tentatively being called "I Will Survive... Or Die Trying" (Part One and Part Two).

Blog Linkage - Go, go, go to www.missionalmotherhood.com and read yesterday's post. Good, good stuff.

Way Back When...

I wrote a little story about Austin's college orientation in June of 2009, and I'll re-post it today in case that's a road you're about travel.

What can I say about yesterday's orientation? First, I had SEVEN MEETINGS. I just wanted to make that clear. SEVEN MEETINGS too many for a meeting-hating Mom.

The first hour was great. The Go Team (kind of like Ambassadors at Gardendale) put on an hour-long play/skit of all things freshmen will experience. It was funny, musical and very entertaining. It held my interest like a two year-old at a Wiggles concert. "This is going to be okay," I thought to myself. "This isn't going to be over my head or boring." I allowed myself to be lulled into a sense of false security.

Austin left and the next session (a/k/a meeting) was given by a woman and it was about parents. She called us "helicopter parents." You know... hovering. She even suggested we not call the kids all the time. I quickly tuned her out.

On to Session Three. Nine parents met with the adviser who will be handling our kid's schedule. He was very nice. He was very informative. I tried very hard to listen to every word that came out of his mouth, and then I heard, "...so after I go to registration with your child tomorrow, you can pick them up." What?

Not only am I NOT a meeting person... I am NOT an "ask questions at the meeting" person. I usually get very angry with the people who ask questions at the meeting because that means the meeting will last longer. But I felt my hand raise high over my head. "Yes," he acknowledged me.

"I never ask questions," I started. No one cared. "Why isn't the parent going with their child to registration?"

"Is there a particular reason you think you need to be there?" he responded, not unkindly, but maybe slightly irritated.

I know he did not expect me to go into the lengthy story of the day Austin was born, and what I physically and emotionally went through giving birth to him, but I wanted him to understand the FULL extent of our bond. That, and the fact if he messed up his schedule, Mike and I would have to PAY to change the classes next week.

"I think we'll be able to handle it," he said slightly smug.

You didn't have to be a brain surgeon to understand that these people were planning on treating these freshmen like "adults." Absurd!

Okay. I would not consider that session a success... Mainly, because I didn't get what I wanted. I needed to go to lunch before we had another meeting.

I mean session.

Lunch was okay. Because of my diabetes I couldn't eat the mashed potatoes or the mac and cheese or the homemade roll or the peach cobbler. That pretty much left chicken, carrots and green beans. Oh, and they didn't have a Diet Dr. Pepper so I had to have a Pepsi Zero. Just shoot me now!

After lunch, we had my favorite session. Austin decided he wanted to try the Communications Major Session. It was fascinating. I loved it. Austin loved it. I can totally see him doing something like this... if he wants to. I refuse to be a "helicopter." Austin was really pumped up about it, so I encouraged him. (Oh, by the way, I am now registered in Communications 101. I'll be with Austin Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:00 to 11:00. Not being a "helicopter." Just trying to expand myself... I want to be a better blogger, and this class should help.)

The next session was a student panel where six kids sat in front of us and answered all the questions we could think to ask. Mostly, they talked about how important it was for us, as parents, to give the freshmen freedom.

Session Six was an administrative panel where nine adults talked about all the things we, as parents, needed to know about the different departments at the school. I think I lost consciousness on Administrative Panel Member Number Four.

Then we went to our final session which was a reception. Sugar cookies and sweet, sweet red punch. I admit it. I took a sip of the punch. I have the red mustache to prove it.

And then Austin was in his final session of the day. Parents weren't allowed because it was just for the kids so they could ask questions they wouldn't ask in front of their parents. All I can say is Austin Faulkner better not have had his hand waving.

Out of the SEVEN MEETINGS, I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed TWO of them. That is excellent for me. I consider yesterday a success.

To all of you out there who have sent children off to college, I admire how you pulled it off without being called a "helicopter." For those of you who still haven't experienced this monumental task, I would advise you to take your child, run to Montana, buy a farm and just keep everyone with you in a compound-like environment. I really think that's the only way to go.

NOTE - It has been FIVE years since that orientation day at Jacksonville. FIVE! Oh... my... goodness.

Five years after the fact, I still feel that Montana is the way to go, and if I had it to do over again, that's where The Faulkner Five would be right now!

ANOTHER NOTE - I would like it known that the "smug" adviser who wanted to register Austin without his Mom present messed his schedule up, and I was the one who caught it. (Can I get a shout-out from all the "helicopter moms" hovering out there!)

Also, Michael Jackson AND Farrah Fawcett both passed away during Austin's orientation.

To say I thought the world as I knew it was coming to an end would be a gross understatement, but I still attended each and every "meeting" I was supposed to attend that day... and lived to tell the tale!

I'm always surprised by my unbelievable inner strength!

I hope you have a glorious Tuesday. I hope your kiddos aren't college-age yet. Life is so much easier when the children are young... and not driving... and taking naps on a regular basis. I'll be back Friday with all kinds of good Summertime info!

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, June 20, 2014

Weekend Happenings, Key Lime Pie (Pioneer Woman), Way Back When... (Water Park Kid Date), Blog Linkage

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Father's Day turned into Great-Nephew and Great-Niece Day as far as pictures were concerned.

And I'll try to do better next year...

But I cannot promise!

Sweet Mackenzie.

Lauren kissin' Guy. (Guy was the only "Dad" I photographed during Father's Day out of five fathers. That really is not a good way to preserve memories, is it?)

Matthew. He's all grown up, isn't he?

Matthew and Roxie doing the phone thang.

Standing Mackenzie. This little one will be walking very soon. She's got the "pulling up" and "holding your finger" part of the whole process down pat.

Roxie and Lauren taking selfies. You're never to young to learn. (I think Lauren was experimenting with different faces.)

All in all, it was a pleasant way to spend a holiday.

RANDOMNESS #2 - We celebrated Mikie's Birthday/Father's Day the Monday after Father's Day. I copied the Bass Pro Shop Christmas Party idea my friend, Evelyn, gave me in December and tweaked it just a little to go with Father's Day.

First, we picked Mike up at his office and had dinner at Irondale Cafe which was only a few minutes away. Austin, Mike and I have eaten there before, but it was a first for Roxie and Josh.

After a thoroughly enjoyable dinner (which I didn't have to cook), we headed to Bass Pro Shop for some fun.

While I kept Mike occupied in one part of the store, Austin, Josh and Roxie got busy.

I gave them five envelopes with instructions inside each.



NOTE - I gave them 15 quarters in this envelope. Austin won the shooting competition, so he won a bag of Beef Jerkey which I purchased before we left the store.



NOTE - I would have posted this pic, but it wasn't flattering of any of the kids. Roxie would have kept snapping until she had at least a good photo of herself, but The Brothers weren't having it. The Envelope said "TAKE A SELFIE." That meant ONE!


We sat down as the sun was setting, and Mike opened his three gifts.

They bought him a pretty yellow fishing shirt. You know... the kind with the vent in the back to help keep you cool.

He also received a fishing lure AND three DOUBLE Moon Pies.

So it wasn't a gigantic Father's Day haul, but three gifts (all things he liked) AND a free dinner...

Let's just say he was pretty happy.

And when it was all said and done, I took some photos.

If you take pictures of your kids (any age), you know the non-staged pics are usually more entertaining.

Mike and the kids (staged).

Mike and the kids... again (staged).

One more staged!

Not staged... and this bubble got much bigger before the finger (Mikie's) finally popped it.

Not staged... and so sweet.

Blog Linkage - Go to www.kellehampton.com and read yesterday's post entitled, "Telling Stories and Creating Time Capsules."

Pioneer Woman's Key Lime Pie

This is a very good little pie. The recipe came from The Pioneer Woman's Holiday Cook Book.

You will need the following:

18 whole graham crackers (the 4-section large pieces)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon (heaping) lime zest
1/2 cup lime juice
2 whole egg yolks
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. For the crust, crush crackers in a food processor or Ziploc bag. Pour them into a bowl and stir in sugar and melted butter. Press into a pie pan and bake for 5 minutes or until golden and set. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.

3. For the filling, mix lime zest, lime juice and egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Add in condensed milk and mix on high until smooth and thick. Pour mixture into crust and bake for 15 minutes.

4. Remove from oven, allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour or more if possible.

5. Serve with whipped cream and more grated lime zest.

It's the perfect Summer pie!

Way Back When...

Water Park Date

I don't know about you, but I was always VERY nervous when I took several kids to a water park (White Water in Atlanta, Splash Beach in Alabama Adventure, etc.). It's hard to keep up with kids in water with that many attractions (Lazy River, Wave Pool, Water Slides, etc.). Plus, it can get pretty expensive taking all the kids at one time.

This would be a GREAT one-on-one date. Affordable and enjoyable. You don't have to worry about where the other kids are every minute. You don't have to worry about keeping everyone together in one area even though some of the kids are big enough to ride the water slides while others need to stay in the wading area. You don't have to worry about riding a slide with one child, while the other children are doing who knows what! You can keep all your attention on your date... and you can have a ball.

If you go to a place like Alabama Adventure, there's plenty to do on a hot summer day at Splash Beach, and you and your child can go home tired, happy and cool. And they LOVE having Mom or Dad all to themselves at a place like this... They don't have to wait their turn to do the activity they want to do.

Save up a little money, and take your date to a nearby water park. Oh, and have a wonderful time!

Weekend Happenings

1. As we speak, Roxie and Hunter are enjoying a very hot day at Oak Mountain. She had a lot of things planned and a picnic lunch packed... and she took the Go-Pro, so maybe I'll share some pics with you Tuesday.

2. On Saturday, Roxie and Josh are working. Austin and Melia have a date planned, and me and ol' Mikie might just jump on the date train, too. (We'll have to see.)

Also, I'll be cooking a few dishes Saturday afternoon for my sister's birthday the next day. (Nothing spectacular. I'm just going for edible this week.)

3. We're going to Grandmother's to celebrate Bev's birthday after church Sunday afternoon, and as of this very minute, everyone is supposed to be present. I'm really looking forward to this event!

Have a fantastic weekend. I'll be back Tuesday with a bunch of Summer ideas... old and new.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. I'm going to leave you with pics of some singing in the backseat which took place this past week.

I'm not saying it was really good singing, but it did make me smile!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up, Crock Pot Cashew Chicken, Blog Linkage, Way Back When... (Childhood Memories AND Little Mermaid Party)

Good Tuesday morning!

DON'T FORGET! DON'T FORGET! DON'T FORGET! - If you are on Instagram, be sure to follow me at "enchantingb." I'll do the same for you.

I'm posting a picture a day for a year beginning June 1 of 2014 and ending June 1, 2015.

So far, so good. I haven't missed a day yet!

For all the weekends I don't have much blog-worthy stuff happening, I give you THIS PAST WEEKEND!

Two Mike Mini-Birthday Celebrations
A Father's Day Memorial
A Big Mike Birthday Celebration
Two Father's Day Celebrations
Melia and Austin Engagement Pics (I was invited, and it was so much fun.)
Two New-to-Me Recipes

We'll have to spread it out a little, I think.

RANDOMNESS - Mike's Birthday was on Friday the 13th.

And there was a big ol' full moon.

I know.

It kinda fit, didn't it?

We didn't do anything to celebrate Friday night, but after my Daddy's memorial Saturday morning, we had breakfast as a family and everyone got to take home a Chocolate Marshmallow Cupcake in a festive box.

I don't know about you, but breakfast and birthday cake really don't go well together in my mind.

The festive little cupcake box!

Roxie and Mike.

Katie and her fella, T.J.

Brad and Roxie.

Josh and Katie.

Roxie handed out the cupcakes after everyone finished their bacon, eggs and biscuits.

Roxie and Mike... looking at birthday cards.

Mike and Josh.

Mike and Austin.

Zac and Mike.

Blog Linkage - Once again, head over to www.missionalmotherhood.com for some very wise maternal words.

And then make your way to www.slowfamilyonline.com and read yesterday's post entitled, "Pollinator Week: Have Fun Attracting and Helping Bees, Birds and Butterflies." Step-by-step instructions, Folks. It doesn't get much better!

Crock Pot Cashew Chicken

I made this to go with one of my "totally healthy" meals last week... and it was very good.

2 chicken breasts, cut into smaller pieces
1-2 cups frozen broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup carrots, sliced
1/2 cup cashews (unsalted)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup water or chicken broth

1. Layer chicken and carrots in the crock pot.

2. Combine remaining ingredients except cashews and water, and pour over chicken in crock pot.

3. Add water or broth if necessary so mixture is almost completely covered.

4. Add cashews and carrots to the crock pot at the end of the third hour.

5. Cook for 4 hours on high.

NOTE - The original recipe called for adding the cashews and carrots at the beginning of the cooking cycle, but we like our carrots and cashews a little crunchy. You can do it either way.

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.

This idea/story/whatever was first posted in June of 2009.

Childhood Memories...

When I was in elementary school, my playmates in the neighborhood were Curtis, his sister, Mona, Cindy, Pam, Beverly and her crew, Lee and Dennis. Every now and again in the summer, we would plan a camp-out. Not a tent camp-out. Not a camper camp-out. But a "back of the pick-up truck" camp-out.

We would fill the back of my Dad's pick-up truck with blankets, pillows, snacks, etc. as soon as he arrived home from work that day. We would have planned all day long the fun we would have telling ghost stories and sleeping under the stars in my driveway. It would be EPIC!

Finally, it was dark. We're talking about 8:00 p.m., and several of us would arrive and climb in the back of the truck. We would talk for a few minutes, jump out of the truck to catch lightning bugs, and then climb back in. We ate our snacks, and talked a little more.

Oops! Forgot the flashlights. Everyone ran home to get their own personal flashlight. Okay. Back into the truck. Time for ghost stories. And amazingly, the ghost stories were not any different from the ones we sit around the campfire and tell the kids to this day.

Uh, oh. We scared a couple of the younger guys. Two down, but four still in the back of the pick-up. More room. More comfortable. Everything was looking good. Another ghost story. We lost another one. And then there were three.

We decided the ghost stories were causing more harm than good, so we settled down to go to sleep under the stars. Crickets and frogs could be heard all around. The wind was whistling in the pines over our heads. No one wanted to admit they were more than a little uncomfortable in the back of a pick-up where any lunatic could come at any moment and lob off our heads.

Silently, we stared at the stars. No one was nodding off to sleep. All of a sudden, the whole truck shook. People were screaming and a loud clanging sound surrounded the truck. We sat straight up... the brave remaining threesome... and screamed our heads off. And then my Dad popped up over the tailgate of the truck. More screaming (LOTS more screaming). Children jumped over the sides of the truck and ran to their respective homes. Some of us made it to the bathroom before having an "accident," but not all.

Dad apologized and tried to get us to go back to our camp-out, but it was too late. We were damaged for life! That, and the fact it was only 9:00 p.m. We were wide awake, and the idea of sitting outside in the back of the truck for another two or three hours until we really did fall asleep did not appeal to any of us.

Well, at least not until the next summer.

Little Mermaid Party

You knew it was only a matter of time before we had a Disney Princess Party, didn't you? This one is easy, fun and inexpensive. My three main criteria for a great birthday party.

We were fortunate to have a home with a hot tub in the back yard when we had this party. If you have access to a pool, hot tub (or even a jacuzzi tub inside), of course, let the little mermaids swim to their heart's content. We had six little mermaids (4 year-olds) in the hot tub, and they played and splashed and swam around for about 45 minutes to an hour. After we dried them off, we played the following games and made the following crafts:

Make an Ocean - This was their favorite. I had an empty two-liter soft drink bottle for each child. With the help of their mom, they poured 1 cup of oil into the bottle (taking turns using a funnel). We then filled the bottles up a little over half full with water. Next we added drops of blue food coloring (again with the help and supervision of the moms). The best part was adding small plastic fish I had found at a dollar store. (Make sure the little fish fit through the opening of the bottle.) Just to make it a little prettier, we put pieces of silver confetti stars (starfish) in the bottle, also.

Make sure the lid is on super tight and then turn the bottle sideways. The oil, water, fish and bright blue food coloring make this something they will enjoy for a long time. (Most of the kids still had their "ocean" several weeks after the party was over.)

What's Missing Game - You will need to buy the Little Mermaid plastic figurine set. (You should have at least five or more figurines from the movie. If you can't find that many, use some of the plastic fish you used to make the ocean.)

Have the children sit in front of you. Let them look at all the figurines and then cover them with a towel. Without letting them see, slip one of the figures out from under the towel. Now remove the towel and see who can guess which one is missing. You can do this several times. They love playing this game.

Where is Flounder Game - Run off several pictures of Flounder (eight or nine), and several pictures of other kinds of fish (ten or more). Hide these pictures all over the back or front yard (or in the house if you're having the party inside). Give the kids a time limit (four or five minutes) and let them run around trying to find as many of the pictures as they can possibly find. For every picture of Flounder they have found at the end of the five minutes, they get two points. For every picture of another fish they have found, they get one point. The child with the most points wins a piece of candy to be put in their goodie bag to take home.

Musical Gifts - When it is time for the gifts to be opened, let the birthday girl sit in a chair. Have all the other guests sit in a circle on the floor in front of the birthday girl. Play a song from The Little Mermaid. As the song is playing, place one gift in the lap of a guest. She is to pass it to the next person, who then passes it to the next person. The gift continues to be passed around the circle until you stop the music.

Whoever is holding the gift stands up and takes it to the birthday girl. She gets to stand next to the birthday girl while she opens her gift. She gets a piece of candy to put in her goodie bag and then sits in a chair next to the birthday girl. The game continues until there are only two girls (and two gifts left). These two girls pass the remaining two gifts back and forth until the music stops. Whatever gift they are holding is the one they give to the birthday girl.

After she opens the remaining two gifts, those two girls get their pieces of candy for their goodie bags, and it is time for the cake. (A helper mom will need to take the gifts inside to a bedroom and close the door while the girls are being distracted by the cutting of the cake.)

Little Mermaid cakes are easy to find in most grocery stores. However, you can make individual cupcakes decorated with blue icing and put an individual Little Mermaid figurine on each cupcake. The figurine would also go in each girl's goodie bag.

After the girls have eaten, the party will be finished. You will have spent an hour in the water, and at least 15 minutes with each of the crafts and games, as well as another ten minutes or so eating the cake.

Each girl will take home their "ocean," goodie bag with candy and figurine. Other things that can go in the goodie bag are theme pencils and/or Little Mermaid underwear (you can buy these in a pack of four or six). It's also very easy and economical to run color sheets off the computer of The Little Mermaid for the girls to color when they get home. (Or you can buy one coloring book and tear out the pages to make four to six smaller coloring books.) Most four year-olds have a huge supply of coloring books, so a few sheets for them to color when they get home will be enough for them to remember the good time they had at the party.

Remember, this party works best for the four or five year-old crowd... and when I say crowd, I mean four to six little girls. Have fun!

I hope you have a wonderful Tuesday. I'll be back Friday with pics and details from Mikie's personal Father's Day/Birthday Celebration, yet another recipe (Pioneer Woman, Baby) and much, much more.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Here's a sneak peek of some of the Friday stuff...

Guy and Lauren.

I'll have pics of my great-nephew and great-nieces from Sunday's Father's Day Celebration with Mr. Faulkner.

I'll also have pics from Mikie's Father's Day/Birthday Celebration from Monday night.

As you may have guessed, we ate at Irondale Cafe... and took a few pics on the tracks before heading to the next destination.
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