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 for some very wise maternal words.

And then make your way to 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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