Friday, August 29, 2014

Weekend Happenings, Snickers Caramel Apple Pie, Pinterest Stuff (Object Lesson - Anger Management), Blog Linkage

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Here are some pictures of a few things The Faulkner Five did LAST AUGUST.

That means I didn't take any pictures Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday of THIS week.

Josh moved into an apartment in Hanceville last August.

Granddaddy's recliner moved with him. (It moved to Jacksonville with Austin, too. It is kind of a "college recliner," so I'm assuming next year we'll be moving it with The Chick.)

Roxie and Josh.

We had our back-to-school dinner at P. F. Chang's last year.

Austin and Melia.

This was Roxie's first day of school outfit last year.

Austin and Melia.

Can you believe it? They weren't even engaged this time last year.

Counting today, they only have 58 more days to go!

Stephanie and Brad weren't engaged this time last year either.

Counting today, they only have 30 more days to go!

How things have changed.

Bev, Grandmother and Me.

In May of 2013, Roxie totaled her little red car in an accident.

In August of 2013, Roxie got a new-to-her little green car...

And in August of 2014, she's still driving the little green car.


RANDOMNESS #2 - I faithfully watched all four weeks of Jen Hatmaker's reality show on HGTV.

It came on Thursday nights at 10:00, and there were two back-to-back 30-minute shows on each week.

I wish they had spread it out, because I thoroughly enjoyed it.

They renovated a 105 year-old farmhouse with the whole family living in the 105 year-old farmhouse. And when I say "whole family," I'm talking two parents, one dog and five kids.

With the beginning of our renovation coming up, it gave me hope maybe our family will survive an in-home reno, too.

However, Jen seems a tad more laid back than me.

Her husband, Brandon, also seems very "go with the flow."

I'm hoping "laid back" is NOT a prerequisite for a successful house reno...

But I think I'm going to be very disappointed.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I'm still posting a pic a day on Instagram, and I am loving it! So much fun.

If you are on Instagram and want to follow me, go to @enchantingb.

Blog Linkage - Go to www.missionalmotherhood.com and read until you catch up! There are some very good blog posts this week.

Snickers Caramel Apple Pie

You will need the following:

1 pie crust
3 green apples, diced
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
15 to 20 mini snickers, chopped
2 1/2 cups Cool Whip whipped topping, softened
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1. Spread chopped Snickers on bottom of pie crust.

2. Layer the diced apples next.

3. Drizzle caramel on top.

4. Combine Cool Whip, cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk together in a small bowl and spread on top.

Note - I mixed the Cool Whip, condensed milk and cream cheese in a bowl, and then added the apples and Snickers into that mixture. Then I put it all in the pie crust.

5. Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Take out about 5 minutes before serving and top with fresh apple slices and a little more caramel. Enjoy!

Another Note - This pie is better on Day 1 and Day 2. If you want to keep the apples from browning, you can put them in a small bowl, pour 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in the bowl and toss before adding them to the pie.

Pinterest Stuff

Back in the day when we had daily family devotions, I loved adding an object lesson to the mix. Now, looking back, the successful object lesson devotions are some of the ones the kids still remember as their favorites.

Object Lesson - Anger Management

Key Verse

"In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." Ephesians 4:26

Additional Verses

Psalm 4:4, Proverbs 14:29, Proverbs 15:1, Ecclesiastes 7:9, Ephesians 4:26-27, Colossians 3:8

You will need one can of soda.

The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:26 when we get angry we need to be very careful not to sin. Sinning is when we do something that goes against God’s rules for our life like pushing, fighting and saying unkind things.

Have you ever been really mad at someone?

(Take out can of soda.)

When we get angry, it is like shaking this can of soda up and down.

(Shake the can hard, and then act like you are going to open it.)

What would happen if I opened this can? It would explode everywhere, wouldn't it?

(Set the can down and make sure you give it at least a minute or two before picking it up again. It would be best if you test this before presenting it.)

If you are angry like this can, and you sin by getting into a fight or calling someone bad names, it would be like opening this can and it spraying everywhere!

Sometimes what we need to do is walk away, pray and ask God to help us calm down... and not respond in sin.

(Take the can and open it. It should open normally now. Make this dramatic so the kids think it will spray everywhere.)

See! All this can needed was a few moments of quiet and it calmed down. I opened it and it didn't explode.

Just like this can, when we are angry we need to take a few moments so we can react without sinning.

Another Note - If I was doing this devotion today, after I shook the can, I would say, "I'm going to let this can of soda walk away for a few minutes to calm down. I don't want it to explode when I open it, do I?"

I would then put the can behind a box or somewhere the kids couldn't see it.

When it was time to open the can in front of the kids, I would pull out an unshaken can from behind the same box. I wouldn't have to worry about stretching the devotion out to make sure the original can wouldn't explode, and I could keep the kids' attention.

Weekend Happenings

I could spend a lot of time and space telling you the five of us will be working, watching football, playing at the lake with friends, going to church, etc., etc., etc.

But we all know there's only one really important "thang" going on this weekend.

1. On Sunday evening, I will be going to The Melting Pot with the family for a birthday dinner... And I will receive birthday gifts... And it will be good and lovely and delicious.

I may or may not be wearing a beautiful new blouse and matching jewelry depending on my luck shopping today and tomorrow, but other than that one little "unknown," I think it's going to be a great, great weekend.

I've never been to The Melting Pot, but it's been on my List of Restaurants I Want to Try for several years now. I love when items on lists get checked off...

So, so much.

Have a delightful three-day weekend. Three-day weekends are the best, aren't they? I'll be back Tuesday with a lot of Fall "stuff."

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up, Pinterest Stuff (Make Sunday a Fun Day), Quotable Quotes, Way Back When... (Everyone Has a Story)

Good Tuesday morning!

RANDOMNESS - I met my family for a Birthday Lunch after church Sunday, and as is our custom, I took pictures with each and every poor family member who attended the celebration.

You would think they would learn, but nope! They keep showing up!

Katie had to work Sunday, so Bev made my birthday cupcakes.

She made the flowers by melting tiny jelly beans and shaping them into petals.


She did that!

Just for me.

MamMa and Brad.

I love me some Roxie.

Captain America and me.


It's a little known fact, but Captain America is my son.

Me and Bev. (It would appear someone didn't read the, "Please wear a solid-colored shirt for pics because the Birthday Girl is wearing an obnoxiously, wild-patterned blouse" memo.)



Me and Mikie.

He obviously read the memo...

And we look fabulous!

Quotable Quotes

"God doesn't want something from us. He simply wants us." C. S. Lewis

Pinterest Stuff

Make Sunday a Fun Day

For kids sometime Sunday does not feel like a fun day. It feels like a day filled with many more rules, and therefore, it feels restrictive. Make Sunday a day of fun activities, not just restrictions. Keeping the Sabbath Day holy does not have to mean sitting in the house all day being still and quiet.

One thing our family did when we had a house full of young children was to have a Sunday Bucket. We used a bucket because we had one on hand, but any container will do (box, bag, bucket, tub, drawer, etc.).

What is a Sunday Bucket? A Sunday Bucket is a container that can be decorated on the outside, and the inside is filled with toys, stories or activities that are not part of your child’s everyday world. Let them know that the lid can only come off on Sunday, and the activities are exclusively for that day. In order to keep the container exciting, engaging and effective, consider trading out/adding a new activity every week.

Here are a few fun, easy, inexpensive things a Sunday Bucket might contain:

Puppets and a sheet to drape over the back of some chairs for the stage
Play dough recipe and ingredients
Picnic items to eat lunch outside
A map for a family walk around the neighborhood
Materials to make forts (such as clothes pins and sheets)
Art supplies to make cards and notes to friends or relatives
Ingredients to make sweet treats to give to neighbors

Don’t stress, the Sunday Bucket items do not have to be expensive or elaborate.

Below are some other ideas for Sunday activities. Some may need to be tweaked to make them feel more Sunday-like.

Creating fancy foods
Fun with games
Arts and crafts
Magic tricks

NOTE - It would be fun to use the Sunday School lesson your child had that morning to implement some ideas into the Sunday Bucket.

For example, if the lesson was about the five loaves of bread and two fish, that could be in the bucket for the outside picnic. (Fish sticks and tortillas with Ranch dressing to make wraps.)

Or, if the lesson was about Daniel in the lions' den, the "fort" you make that day with blankets, pillows and overturned chairs could be the lions' den.

Reinforce your Sunday Bucket ideas with scripture, songs, DVDs, etc.

Make Sunday everyone's favorite day of the week!

This information was taken from www.askaparentorteacher.com.

Way Back When...

This was first posted in August of 2009.

Topic of the Day - Everyone Has a Story

I had the privilege of meeting several new people last week, which is very rare for me. I've known the same people for decades now, some better than others. And for me to meet AND talk to AND get to know several people in a period of two or three days is pretty amazing (Code for ODD).

Three of these women touched my heart with their stories. The stories of their lives. The stories of their families. The stories of their struggles. The stories of their perseverance. They were inspiring. And all I had to do was listen.

It has just been in recent months I've been able to focus and listen for any length of time to other people. One of my doctors said it wasn't unusual, and through the isolation of a family member's illness, I lost some of my own social skills. Although I tried to concentrate on what another person was saying, after a few minutes I would literally get a headache trying to keep eye contact with the person. It was exhausting. I felt terrible because it seemed a very selfish way to behave. (As I said, I have improved over the last few months, but I'm still not where I need to be.)

When the idea first came to me to start A Simple Life, my main reason for doing so was to be able to talk to someone... anyone out in cyberspace. It didn't matter. I just needed to say something to someone every day. I needed to tell my story. It didn't matter if it was incredibly interesting or moving or poignant or funny. I just needed to talk... and talk a lot.

DISCLAIMER - In saying the above, it doesn't mean that Mikie wasn't a sounding board for me during the past four years. He was, is and will always be my main confidante. That being said, it's a lot of pressure for a man to be the ONLY person his wife can ever talk to. And that's not even taking into account the fact he's a guy and he doesn't even understand some of the girl stuff I'm going through. (Can you say peri-menopause?) He did great, but it was too big a job for him alone.

ANOTHER DISCLAIMER - Also in saying the above, it doesn't mean I didn't pray or have conversations with God during the past four years. I most certainly did. And he answered so many of my prayers in astounding ways. But, being a woman created by God, there was a need to talk to other women. Girls are made that way. God made us that way for a reason.

In talking about stories, I just want to point out everyone has a story... and not just any old story, but a story worth sharing. Most people are like me... they just need someone who will listen. And that being said, I know I NEED to become a better listener. There is so much to gain from listening.

There is comfort in knowing you're not the only one going through a similar difficult time. There is joy in knowing there are people who think the same way you do. And there is a great, great release when the person you've been listening to stops to let you have a turn to share.

I was thinking about Steel Magnolias earlier this week. Dolly Parton's character (the town hairdresser) was talking to one of the other ladies about Annelle (Darryl Hannah's character). When Dolly was asked questions about Annelle's history she couldn't answer yet, she replied, "I don't know, but I think there's a story there."

There's a story in all of us. We just need to find the right friend to listen... and then return the favor by listening to their story as well.

"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." James 1:19.

I hope y'all have the best day. Really, I do. I'll be back Friday with the last post for August, 2014. I'm sure it will be fascinating.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, August 22, 2014

Weekend Happenings, Pinterest Stuff (Open-Ended Questions to Start Conversations), Way Back When... (Topic of the Day - Busy, Busy, Busy)

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Does the perfect Mother of the Groom dress exist?

That's the question I've been asking myself the last few weeks.

I found a really good website with hundreds of beautiful Mother of the Bride dresses. I am assuming I can choose from this selection because I ordered one, and no one from the company called me to verify I was, in fact, the Mother of the Bride.

If they ask, I will tell them I am not, but hopefully, they'll let this question slide.

Back to the subject at hand...

I chose a really pretty and unique dress and it arrived on my doorstep yesterday.

Can I just say, the color is perfect, but the dress...

Not so much.

Out of the hundreds of dresses on this Mother of the Bride website, I have luckily found two more that meet the following criteria...

Three-quarter length sleeves
More shimmer than sparkle
Square or other modest neckline (Not a V-neck. The V-neck and I are not friends.)
Fitted in the right places
Flowy in the right places
Looks like a Size 8, but in reality is a Size ____

And now the final criteria has been added.

It must be the exact same dark green color as the dress I'm sending back today.

In this age of the computer, can you please tell me why I cannot just type in the above "list" and have the perfect dress come up on the screen...

Priced at $99 or under?

Can you?

Can you explain that to me?

I need to talk to someone very high up in the tech world.

Someone like Bill Gates.

He really should get to work on this project YESTERDAY!

Don't worry.

Y'all will be some of the first to know when I find the perfect dress!

RANDOMNESS #2 - I'm picture-poor today, so I borrowed a few from Roxie's phone...

With her permission, of course.

Roxie and friends registering for Senior Year.

Roxie and Kelci bonding at a basketball team party.

Hunter and Roxie... putt-putt-pros.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Also, here are a few more from Roxie's Senior Pic Shoot.

Way Back When...

This was first posted in August of 2009.

Busy, Busy, Busy

Our family is busy during the fall, but even more so this particular fall. I have never liked being too busy. It makes me feel rushed, overwhelmed and need I say... panicky. It's definitely a time for me to put my newly acquired "one day at a time" skills to work. If I think of the week as a whole, I can easily end up in the bathroom floor breathing into a paper bag (or worse yet, in the ER hooked up to heart monitors and oxygen).

I've checked my "busy basket" a few months early (I usually do inventory in January and June), and I'm not the problem. It's definitely the kids' schedules. However, since I am the mother-unit of the Faulkner Five, it is up to me to help them with their "busy baskets." (For those of you who are just joining us, that's my phrase for the extras in life... football, band, volleyball, dance, choir, extra credit projects, Sunday School socials, etc., etc., etc.) NONE of the things listed are bad things. In fact, all of them are very good things which can have a very positive impact in your child's life. But too much of one good thing tends to lead to an unbalanced (very, very bad word) life.

Roxie's "busy basket" has already been tweaked. Although we have to finish commitments (and finish them well), we can both see things we can do differently for next fall.

Josh's "basket" is a little trickier, but his load can be lightened, also.

For the record, Austin is the King of not having a full "busy basket." He will not commit to anything he feels might overload him. It was a skill with which he was born. He never ran from toy to toy to toy. He played with his animals for days before he moved on to his Power Ranger action figures. He also would protest LOUDLY if and when things were too busy for his taste. (It's good to be King.)

I was reading a sidebar in my Bible during the message yesterday morning about Martha, and I want to share it with you today.

"Will all the Marthas in the room please raise your hands? Yes, God sees all those hands! After all, women are taught to be 'do-ers,' not 'be-ers.' When house guests show up, women shift into fifth gear. When someone stays overnight, women do more laps around the house than a car at the Indy 500.

"Unfortunately, this scenario can apply to women spiritually as well as literally. Once women slip into their 'doing' gear, many have trouble downshifting -- ever. Being quiet and contemplative makes them feel guilty -- shouldn't they be doing something for someone somewhere? In Mary-fashion, we need to learn to hear God calling us away from our tasks for a pit stop. At Jesus' feet we'll be refueled. Then we can dash off to 'Martha' the world that awaits us." Luke 10:38-42.

Wow! And by being "Marthas," we are teaching our kids by example to fill up those "busy baskets."

I have a challenge for the blog readers (AND ME) this week. Let's make an ENORMOUS effort (together) to let our kids see us take a pit stop. I mean (very literally) let them see us stop in our busy day to spend some time at Jesus' feet. I know many women read their Bibles and have their quiet time before the kids get up in the morning or after they go to school. We don't need to stop doing that, but we do NEED to let them see us stop, be still and listen to God. That's definitely a lesson worth teaching the kiddos.

Pinterest Stuff

Open-Ended Questions to Start Conversations With Your Child

1. What is the most amazing thing about you?

2. Which of your friends do you think I like the most? Why?

3. What would be the ideal allowance and how you spend use it?

4. Tell me about the best teacher you ever had?

5. If a genie would give you only one wish, which would you pick, and why?

6. If you could change three things about yourself, what would they be?

7. What are the qualities that make a good friend?

8. If you could decorate our whole house, what would it look like?

9. What do you think are the characteristics that make a good parent?

10. What is the most enjoyable thing our family has done together this year?

11. What is the nicest thing a friend has ever done for you?

12. Name two things we should do as a family on the weekend.

13. If you were going to have a weird, unusual pet, what would it be?

14. How do you describe me to your friends?

15. Tell me three things you remember about kindergarten.

16. If you could trade lives with somebody you know, who would it be?

17. What would you do if you won the lottery?

Weekend Happenings

1. I have no idea what fun tonight will hold for me and mine. I do know we are all kinds of tired from our week of school, work, work-out classes and such.

And laundry.

I'm kinda tired of laundry.

I would LOVE to go to Movie Gallery and rent a really good romantic comedy from the 1980s, but someone did away with all of the Movie Gallery stores...

And the Blockbuster stores...

And the Mom and Pop movie rental stores.

I spent many a Friday afternoon browsing hundreds of movie classics to watch with Mikie and the kiddos, and although I am a Netflix lover, can I just say the variety and quantity of movies to choose from are just not there, or in a little red box located on the sidewalk in front of Walgreens.

It just isn't right.

If I had known the movie rental business was going to completely shut down and disappear, I think I would have taken some pictures to remember my favorite place to go when planning a "theme" weekend or a vacation or a much-needed viewing of a 1980s rom-com classic.

Heavy, heavy sigh.

2. Josh has Saturday plans... and work.

3. Austin has Saturday plans... and work.

4. Roxie has Saturday plans... and work.

5. I hope I'm having brunch with an old friend I haven't seen since last December. That will be lovely if it works out.

However, if it doesn't happen, I may talk Mikie into going on a breakfast date with me to a new-to-me restaurant and maybe, just maybe, we can add some local destinations onto the end of that breakfast date.

6. After church Sunday, our family is meeting up with my sister's family and Grandmother for a big ol' family Cracker Barrel meal.

When the kids were small, we always ate at Cracker Barrel because of the selection choices and the high noise level.

No one noticed our loudness because it just kind of blended in with everything.

Now that everyone has grown-up, we still go for the selection choices and the high noise level.

Some things never change.

Have a great weekend. I'll be back Tuesday with Weekend Wrap-Up, pics and we'll start talking about FALL! It will be here before you know it!

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


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. And I'll leave you with this...

Just a little something to think about this weekend!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up, Classic Tuna Casserole, Way Back When... (My Favorite Things Date), First Avenue Rocks Date, Quotable Quotes

Good Tuesday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - My nephew, Brad, and his future bride-to-be had their Bridal Tea this past weekend...

And it was fun!

Roxie and Stephanie.

Roxie was called into work, so she showed up pre-Tea to visit a few minutes.

These were just a few of the gifts.

I'm telling you...

It was a good day.

Stephanie's Dad had set up a video table with a great DVD of Brad and Stephanie through the years.

It was a favorite.

As is customary, Brad showed up toward the end of the Tea to help load everything up and visit a little.

Grandmother and Brad.

The chalkboard Stephanie made for her countdown to the wedding.

Stephanie and Brad.

Aren't they pretty?

RANDOMNESS #2 - Roxie's Senior Pics were taken in July by Southern Exposures Photography... and I think they turned out very nicely.

And that is my professional opinion as a MOM.

Quotable Quotes

"Be a fountain... not a drain." Anonymous

I really need to apply this to my life.

Classic Tuna Casserole

Okay. Josh asked me if I could make a Tuna Casserole, and I can honestly say, I don't think I've ever made one before last night.

I know I've eaten them...

And even liked them.

So I did the only thing a Pinterest fanatic can do when asked if they can "make" something.

I searched "Classic Tuna Casserole Recipes."

You will need the following:

1 can tuna, drained
8 ounces macaroni (or other pasta)
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.

3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add in the onions and green pepper (and any other vegetables you wish to add at this point, except the peas). Saute over low heat for about 5 minutes.

4. Add in the flour, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth and bubbly.

5. Reduce heat to low and add in the milk and the soup. Stir until smooth and thick.

6. Add in the cooked pasta, tuna, peas and half of the cheese. Mix well.

7. Pour the mixture into a buttered 8" × 8" or 9" × 9" casserole dish, top with the remaining cheese and bread crumbs.

8. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown.

Josh loved it.

Mike liked it.

Roxie ate leftover lasagna.

Way Back When...

My Favorite Things Date

Think, think, think. As a person, what are your favorite things to do? Where do you enjoy going for fun? What's your favorite restaurant? Where do you go to unwind or relax? When you've answered all of these questions, plan a special, one-of-kind date between you and one of your kids. This is what I would do.

1. Tell the child to be ready to leave the house at 9:30 a.m.

2. We would have brunch at Klingler's European Bakery in Vestavia. (Brunch is my favorite meal of the day. It just seems a little more special and celebratory.)

3. I would have the child a gift bag in the van, and ask him/her to remove an envelope marked number 1. Inside the envelope would be the name of my favorite book of the Bible. I would explain why it was my favorite book, and ask them about their favorite book.

4. After brunch, we would get in The Big Gold Van, and I would ask the child to remove an envelope marked with a big number 2. Inside this envelope would be the name of my favorite book and movie. I would explain why those were my favorites, and ask them what their favorites were.

5. We would arrive at our next destination... The Botanical Gardens. This is my favorite place in Birmingham to just "be." We would walk around the gardens talking, talking, talking. I would ask them about their favorite place.

6. As we walked and talked (depending on the child), I would take pictures because that is my MOST favorite thing in the whole world to do. (If the child hates having pictures taken, I would take only one or two.) Again, I would ask them what was their MOST favorite thing to do in the whole world.

7. Back in The Big Gold Van, there would be a gift wrapped in the bottom of the bag marked with a number 3. Inside the gift box would be my favorite scented candle (for a girl) or my favorite candy bar (for a boy). What is their favorite?

8. One more envelope in the bag marked with a number 4 should be opened. Written on a piece of paper in the envelope would be my favorite Bible verse. I would then tell them why it was my favorite... and ask the now familiar question, "What is your favorite?"

The date itself is not very expensive, takes only a little planning and gives you an opportunity to share the things you enjoy with your child. It lets them know you a little more as a "person," and not just a "mom" or a "dad."

It goes without saying, make this date your own. Have some fun one fall Saturday morning coming up... just you and one of your kiddos. Mark it in pen on your calendar because it is IMPORTANT.

First Avenue Rocks Date

I saw my young friend, Alex, on Facebook the other day, and he had taken his lovely girlfriend to First Avenue Rocks.

It's a rock climbing wall "thingy" located on 1st Avenue South in Birmingham.

They had finished climbing for the day, and from what I could tell from the picture, no bones had been broken...

And they looked happy.

When I bumped into him this past weekend, I showed amazing memory skills and actually asked him the questions I had tucked away in the back of my brain when I first saw his pic.

"Is it dangerous?"

It kind of depends on you, but not really.

"Is it crowded?"

Can be.

"Do you have to rent the shoes?"

You don't have to rent the shoes, but you should.

"Why weren't y'all wearing harnesses?"

No one wears harnesses on most of the walls. They will put you in harnesses if you are a kid... or not unlike The Enchanting Belinda.

"Since you don't wear harnesses, how cushioned are the pads under the walls?"

You would not be disappointed.

"How long can you physically last before you call it quits on this date?"

You buy a day pass, so you can rest as you go along. In other words, you can stay for awhile.

At first, he thought I was asking for myself...

Which made me laugh...

A lot.

But when I told him I wanted Roxie and Hunter to give it a shot, he couldn't say enough good things about the establishment.

Roxie and Hunter went on this date this past Sunday, and I think they liked it pretty well.

Roxie told me she wanted to get a gym membership there...

And I told her, "I don't think so!"

But as far as a good date and a great workout goes...

This was a good thing.

Call ahead to get details (cost, best time of day, etc.) for you and yours. This would be a great parent/teen date or even a spouse date.

The phone number is 320-2277 or you can go to www.firstaverocks.com.

Have a lovely day. I'll be back Friday with Weekend Happenings, more pics and hopefully something you will consider useful to you and yours.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, August 15, 2014

Weekend Happenings, Quotable Quotes, Cinnamon Toast (Pioneer Woman), Way Back When... (High School Tailgate Party, Campless Cookout, 40 is the New 30... and Other Myths)

Good Friday afternoon.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I am thoroughly enjoying the new show on HGTV which features Jen Hatmaker and her family renovating a 105 year-old farmhouse. It's good clean fun, and interesting to boot!

It comes on at 10:00 and 10:30 p.m. Thursday evenings, and I bet some of you might enjoy watching it, too.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I have a thousand more, but I'll finish up with the Lake Vacation pics today.

I feel the need to move on!

These pics are from Roxie and Hunter's second run...

And that's that!

Quotable Quotes

"Sometimes we're all too quick to count down the days that we forget to make the days count." Anonymous

Guilty as charged!

Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Toast

The Pioneer Woman made this on her show last week...

And I made it the next morning!

You will need the following:

2 sticks salted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
16 slices bread

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Smush the softened butter with a fork. Dump in the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Stir to completely combine. Spread the mixture on the bread slices, completely covering the surfaces all the way to the edges.

3. Place the bread on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil until golden brown and bubbling. Watch so it doesn't burn!

4. Cut the slices into halves diagonally and serve.


This was good stuff.

Way Back When...

The following three items were first posted in August of 2009.

High School Tailgate Party

Tis the season! Football season, that is.

If you have elementary age boys, this is the time to throw a great high school tailgate party!

You'll need a pick-up truck, of course (owned or borrowed), blankets, lawn chairs, food and a cooler of soft drinks. This tailgate party is going to be held at your home. After dinner, you will transport the boys (along with a few helper parents) to the ball game.

The menu is simple: hot dogs, nachos, chips, dip, cookies, etc. Plan on having dinner about one hour before your local high school football game begins. Let the boys eat and toss the football. Depending on their ages, set the boundaries for them at the stadium. If they are really into football, they may sit and watch the entire game. However, most kids do like to wander. If that is the case, I suggest you have a set of parents at three or four different points in the stadium. The boys can walk from one set of parents to the next, but still be "safe."

This does not have to be a spend the night party. If the boys have shared a meal and a football game, they will be happy, and you can go home to a clean house knowing you gave a group of little boys a fun, entertaining party.

VARIATION - If you don't have a high school game nearby to attend, but you still want a football themed party, go ahead and tailgate as planned. After the boys toss the ball or play flag football for a little while, have the TV set up on the deck and let everyone settle down in lawn chairs to watch Remember the Titans, Radio, We Are Marshall or another age-appropriate football movie.

Campless Cookout

That's right. A campless cookout. For all of you out there who have never been camping, or are just too busy to go in the fall, plan a campless cookout for your family.

Luckily, I received a firepit for my Christmas gift this past year, so we can have a cookout on the little patio beside our deck. But in the past, we have hiked into the woods near our home, built a small fire (in a pre-prepared fire pit) and sat on blankets and roasted hot dogs and made s'mores. Just the five of us. For no reason at all except it was fun, simple and a nice way to spend a cool summer or fall evening.

As I stated before, have the fire pit prepared before you hike into the woods to cook. I use rocks to form the circle around the fire, charcoal and pine cones as my base, small sticks and then larger sticks for the fire itself. You can have the kids gather and stack the sticks the day before the cookout.

In a cooler (with wheels, if possible), pack up hot dogs, buns, mustard, ketchup, individual bags of chips and individual canned drinks. You'll need graham crackers, Hershey bars and marshmallows for the s'mores.

If you already have the metal roasting sticks from Walmart, that's fine. But you can have the kids look for and find sticks to cook the old-fashioned way.

So let's get this straight. You take a few minutes a couple of days before the cookout and set up your fire pit. You have the kids gather sticks. You pack a cooler with the things mentioned above. You walk a few feet into a nearby wooded area. You have a great fireside cookout... for no other reason than it's fun and memorable and EASY. Oh, and the kids will want to do this one every year (or more) for sure!

Topic of the Week - 40 IS THE NEW 30... AND OTHER STUPID MYTHS!

I've been thinking about what to write about during this week... the week of my 48th birthday. And without too much effort, it came to me. Why not write about being in my 40s? About to turn 48, I am about as much of an expert as I'm going to be, and there is a lot of stuff going on in this decade that has come as a complete and utter surprise to me. I want others to be more prepared than I was. I'm a giver... I always have been. So this week, this is my gift to all of you out there who might not have entered your 40s yet.

On the day I turned 40, I ran out of my house carrying my shoes in one hand and my purse in the other. Mikie and the kids were taking me out to eat and to a movie... my favorite thing in the whole world. On the way to the car, I stepped on a bee... and it stung me... in between my big toe and the toe beside my big toe... and I couldn't wear my shoe because my two toes swelled... so I had to wear one shoe the rest of the day... and I don't know about you, but wearing only one shoe in a movie theater is gross... and probably a great way to get some kind of disease. It was a sign of things to come.

My 40th year was pretty uneventful in many ways. I was diagnosed with early on-set osteoarthritis in my wrist and one ankle... AND I was perimenopausal. I declared my 40th year to be "YEAR OF THE NEW 30... NOT!"

My 41st year was also a pretty simple, uneventful year. I did notice more and more magazine covers declaring 40 to be the new 30, and I did notice it didn't really apply to me. I was just desperately trying to look my age. I would never have tried to tell someone I was 31 because they would think I hadn't aged well. Pride kept me from telling people I was 51. In theory, if I was 41 but they thought I was 51, they would think I looked young for my age. But what if they DIDN'T think that? What if they thought I really was 51? Too risky.

I decided if I had a personal trainer, personal chef, housekeeper, errand runner and tutor living in the house, I might have a chance. Mikie nixed all of the above.

Health-wise, my arthritis had spread to a few other joints and I started going to a rheumatologist every six months for x-rays, blood work and for some reason, to be weighed. I like my rheumatologist very much... and not just because he did some TV commercials and appeared on Good Morning, Alabama a few times. (His picture is on My Famous People I've Met scrapbook page as you might have guessed.)

I also enjoy going for those visits because when I sign the sheet telling the receptionist I HAVE ARRIVED, I have to write my date of birth. I always write August 26, 1961 and then I scan the sheet. Most of the other patients were born in the 1930s and the 1940s. I am forever young in that office... or at least for another decade or so.

In my 41st year I was still considered perimenopausal (Code for IRRITABLE, BUT NOT HAVING HOT FLASHES... YET.)

I declared my 41st year to be "YEAR OF THE NEW 31... NOT!" (Just so you know, the names of the years get a little more creative as the decade progresses.)

Here I am at 51.

Can I just say, 50 is NOT the new 40.

At least, not at my house!

Weekend Happenings

1. The Brothers have plans this Friday evening, so Mikie and I are taking Roxie and a friend to Cheesecake Factory for a nice dinner.

And for this, I am thankful.

2. Tomorrow is a designated "wedding event" day. Roxie and I are getting her bridesmaid dress for Austin and Melia's wedding altered a little bit here and a little bit there.

After that very important appointment is completed, we'll have a little while before heading to Stephanie and Brad's Bridal Tea for the afternoon.

Cannot wait!

3. After church on Sunday, Austin and his Sunday School Guys are going to the movies, and HOPEFULLY, coming back to the house when it is over for an Ice Cream Sundae Bar.

In other words, I should have pictures from the dress fitting, the Bridal Tea and ICE CREAM!

Having pictures from three separate events makes me very content.

Have a stupendous weekend. I'll be back Tuesday with Bridal Tea pics, Roxie's Senior Portraits (a few) and more, more, more.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up, Way Back When... (Emergency? What Emergency?) , Quotable Quotes, A New Panic Attack Story

Good Tuesday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - In order to make the Lake Vacation last as LONG as possible, here are a few more tubing pics for your Tuesday morn...

I call these photos "Brother Tubing."

Just Josh.

And I call this one "Singing Tubers."

They are fine, fine specimens of men, aren't they?

And please don't report us to the authorities because Austin's life vest is five or six sizes too small.

Just Mikie.

RANDOMNESS #2 - A New Panic Attack Story - It has been a little while since this happened, so I feel comfortable sharing it with you now.

Monday morning, June 2, 2014, I awoke with a chest pain in the MIDDLE of my chest.




Chest pain.

I stared at the ceiling from 3:30 a.m. to 4:00 a.m., and when the sensation did not go away, I got out of bed, put on a pair of Austin's gym shorts in a laundry basket in my room and started brushing my hair and teeth.

"What's going on?" Mike asked as he rolled over toward the light.

"Heart attack... or panic attack. I can't be sure because it's different this time, you see," I replied through a mouth of toothpaste.

"So do you want to see if it passes?" Mike asked, starting to sit up.

"Nope. It's too different. If we go to the Emergency Room now, we can be back at the house around 7:00 or 8:00 and you can get ready and head into work. It will just take a few minutes for them to diagnose me and send me home," I told him.

I was having difficulty breathing, so Mikie, like the wonderful husband he has always been, got up, threw on some clothes, brushed his teeth and hair and at 4:20 a.m. on that Monday morning, we headed to the Emergency Room...


As is their practice, they took me to the back as soon as I arrived because... Well, chest pains.

My blood pressure was too high, the pain was persisting and things were not calming down, so I also went for a chest x-ray and what I now call "heart attack blood work."

This was all part of "my" norm, so I was glad they were getting to it so fast because I didn't want Mikie to miss a day of work.

After the x-ray and the blood work, they took me back to Mike and they did something a little different.

They offered me a nitroglycerin pill.

I had never had one, but I had always wanted to have one or two in my purse for such emergencies, so I was happy this might become one of my new "treatments."

Let me re-phrase...

I was happy until five seconds after it dissolved under my tongue.

Headache! Headache!

Jittery hands! Jittery hands!

Nitro is bad! Nitro is bad!

It was at this time, a cardiologist came in to talk with us and told me he was going to admit me for more tests because things weren't "settling down."

Okay. That wasn't part of the plan, but as I've said before, when you have panic attacks, your favorite place in the whole wide world to hang out is the hospital.

It really is.

So Mikie and I settled in for an unexpected "Hospital Date."

And then I looked at Mikie.

"You look pretty rough, Babe," I said. His hair was combed, but not clean and coiffed. He hadn't shaved, and his clothes were not the best in the world.

"I'm pretty sure I look a little better than you," he replied, smiling.

And that's when I walked into the bathroom to see what the world at large was seeing.

Fun fact for you... The right side of my hair always, always sticks straight up, out and about.

This day was no exception.

No make-up.



Ugly gray t-shirt and uglier red gym shorts.

Oh. And let's not forget the non-matching flip-flops, shall we?

"Why did you let me leave the house looking like this?" I asked.

He didn't answer, which was probably wise.

To make matters worse, I had not brought my purse with me, so a brush, hairspray, lipstick and powder were not even options at this point.

"Do you want me to call anyone?" Mike asked.

"Are you kidding me?" I shrieked. "Look at me!"

"I meant the kids, your Mom, etc.," he reassured me.

"You can call the kids and let them know everything is fine, and you can call Mom a little later in the morning." Six-thirty was a little early to be "sharing" on a Monday morning.

The day wore on, and unfortunately Mike and I did not get better looking.

The tests eventually came back and everything was okay.

"Okay" meaning panic attack as opposed to a heart attack.

Mike and I ended our impromptu Hospital Date around 4:30... a mere 12 hours after the "date" first began.

And we were tired, worn out and one of us didn't smell very good.

When the nurse came in to take my IV out of my wrist, she did the normal "hold some pressure on the bandage for a minute while I call for a wheelchair" routine and left the room.

This started a series of unfortunate events.

They were going to wheel me downstairs into the lobby of St. Vincent's Hospital at 4:35 p.m. on a Monday afternoon.

That was not going to be good.

Not good at all.

I swung around to face Mike and tried to talk him into helping me sneak out through the stairwells when he said, "Okay. Okay. Be perfectly still."

Where I come from, that means one thing.

There is a large, poisonous snake right behind you...

Or, in this case, the place where my IV had been hooked up had sprung a leak.

I was losing blood at a very, very fast pace.

It was all over me... all over my already ugly clothes... and all over the hospital bed.

Mike stuck his head out and called the nurse back into the room.

"Well, goodness. Let's try to get this to stop, okay?" and she started applying pressure.

I took this as a chance to maybe upgrade my wardrobe before we took the "ride of shame" into the hospital lobby.

"Since it's kinda your fault I have blood all over my clothes, do you have anything I could wear home? You know... Prettier than what I'm wearing now?"

An old bed sheet would have been prettier than what I had come to the hospital wearing.

She took a look at blood splattered hospital apparel and said, "We're going to take a shortcut... and no one will see you."

Not as good as getting some clean scrubs to put on, but better than the-middle-of-the-lobby scenario.

She "snuck" me down to a side door in the lobby, Mikie brought the car around on two wheels and we headed home.

I talk about my panic attacks, not because I think they are particularly interesting or in any way, shape or form funny, but because there remains a stigma about so many mental disorders and illnesses... panic attacks among them.

I have panic attacks.

It is what it is, and rather than hide behind a happy "my life is great, and everything in and around me is going extremely well" facade, I'd rather just tell you the truth.

I hope you or yours never have one.

I really, really do.

But if you have had one or have one in the future, it is not the end of the world AND you are not alone AND you are not crazy.

Take comfort knowing you and I have something in common!

And feel free to discuss it openly with friends and family.

It's not easy, but I truly believe it is an important thing to do!

Quotable Quotes

"Go the extra mile. It's never crowded."

Way Back When...

This was first posted in August of 2009.

Emergency? What Emergency?

I told you I'd post another story about how well I react in the event of an emergency, so we'll go ahead and get that out of the way.

I had met my sister, niece and nephews at the ice skating rink at Oak Mountain. While most of the kids were enjoying the ice, my nephew, Zac, was not. He tried, but ice skating was not his thing at the time. He preferred playing at the top of the stadium with a little girl he had met there who was around his age (6 or 7). Beverly and I sat below watching the other kids skate and looked up to see Zac and his little friend standing on the bottom rung of the railing. It was a perfectly normal thing for kids to do, but in this situation it was dangerous because of the height and the cement floor beneath them. Beverly told both of the children to get down, which they immediately did.

Seconds later, we heard the awful thud or pop or thud-pop of a child's head hitting cement. (You've probably heard it before at Wal-Mart. I know I have.) It is a sickening sound. Whirling around, we immediately saw Zac standing looking down. By process of elimination, we knew it was the little girl he had been playing with who had fallen.

We took the steps two at a time and we found her face down on the cement crying. When we lifted her to her feet, blood started pouring from her mouth... pouring, gushing. You get the picture. "Oooh, oooh. That looks bad," I said.

Beverly put her hand under the little girl's chin catching the majority of blood. "Zac, what is her name?" we asked him.

"I don't know. We were just playing together. She got back up on the railing after you told her to get down," he told us... but we had already figured that one out.

We started walking to the entrance of the ice skating rink, Beverly holding her hand under the little girl's chin, Zac walking a few steps behind us, and me trying to think of the best way to help.

That's when my extensive CPR training came into play once again. "MOTHER OF A LITTLE GIRL WEARING A PINK SHIRT AND BLEEDING! MOTHER OF A LITTLE GIRL WEARING A PINK SHIRT AND BLEEDING!" I started yelling at the top of my lungs.

"What are you doing?" my sister asked.

"We have to find her mother so she can take her to the hospital," I replied.

"Am I going to have to go to the hospital?" the little girl asked.

"No, no. You're going to be just fine. It's just a little cut," my sister replied.

"Are you kidding me? She's going to need stitches and from the looks of things, a blood transfusion, too," I said, stating what I thought was the obvious.

Beverly glared at me. Since I wasn't getting a good response from my first announcement, I quickly fell back to my old tried and true way of getting help quickly.

"PARAMEDIC! PARAMEDIC!" I started bellowing.

"Now what are you doing?" Beverly asked. She was getting a little exasperated by now.

"This really works. I've had to do this before in a CPR situation," I told her.

"What's a paramedic?" the little girl asked.

"It's like a doctor," Beverly replied.

"Do I need a doctor?" she asked, sounding a little panicky.

"No. You're going to be fine," Beverly again reassured her.

"She needs an ambulance driver," I mumbled. Again, glaring from Beverly. And again, I used my CPR training until finally her mother appeared.

Surprisingly, her mother was much like Beverly... although unlike Beverly who was just trying to keep the child calm, the mother really didn't think she needed to go to the hospital, or the doctor, or the plastic surgeon, or the dentist, or the blood bank.

I disagreed, so I went up to someone who worked at the rink and pointed out the little bloody girl, and guess what? They called the paramedics... but they used the phone. And I was right. They said she needed a stitch. And guess what else? You bleed more with a head or mouth injury than other places on your body, so she didn't end up needing that blood transfusion after all.

Yep. I was a hero, all right. I think I missed my calling. I definitely should have gone into the medical field doing something. My "bedside manner" is second to none!

I know what you're thinking.

I hope if I or someone else I love ever needs emergency medical attention, The Enchanting Belinda is close by to offer her assistance.

For your sake, I hope so, too!

Have a fabulous day. I'm going to meet a friend for lunch I haven't seen in about ten years, so I guess you can say I'm pretty excited.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Look what I found on my sidewalk yesterday evening.

Pretty cool, huh?

At first, I thought it was the first FALL LEAVES of the season, but on second look, it was two awesome, giant, exotic moths!

I bet they're from Australia!
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