Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up, Cherry Berry Crack Cake, Pinterest Stuff (Seven Challenges to Make Your Kids Thankful AND Stocking Ideas for Your Spouse), Way Back When... (Thankful Post-It Notes AND A Christmas Card Story)

Good Wednesday evening!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Roxie and friends decided they wanted to cook Saturday night. It sounded really good to me, so as soon as they gave me the grocery list, I did my thing, sat back and watched them go.

Hannah, Alyssa and Roxie.

They had already dug into the chicken casserole before I had time to take a picture.

It was the same with the strawberry dump cake, but I just took the picture of the half they had not touched yet.

Needless to say, there were a couple more dishes they had planned to cook before their attention was drawn elsewhere...

But I was very happy with the two they completed.

RANDOMNESS #2 - We're on a winning streak, I tell you. The Lady Rockets won 61-51 (I think) Tuesday night, and they are headed to Walker for Thursday night's game.

Again, all of the girls did a really great job, and I have high expectations for this season.



A little dance move to throw off the other team.

Sometimes a chick just needs to sit down and rest a spell.

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow night.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I told you I'd be talking about some different things our family will be trying over the holiday season.

Today, I will talk about one of the new Thanksgiving ideas.

If the weather looks like it is going to be agreeable (and that is WAY up in the air right now), we're going to have horseshoes, a basketball and a football ready for the pre-dinner activities.

We're going the old-fashioned/timeless route.

I'll be sharing some other changes as time draws near!

Cherry Berry Crack Cake

Okay. So I took the Crack Cake recipe and instead of yellow cake, I used strawberry...

And instead of vanilla pudding, I used cherry.

You will need the following:

1 box Duncan Hines strawberry cake mix
1/2 cup sugar
1 box cherry-flavored Jello
4 eggs
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup oil

Mix and bake according to box instructions.

NOTE - It is very moist, but if you want icing or glaze, I would suggest a milk/powdered sugar glaze.

Surprisingly, it's a pretty good little cake. Very tasty and very pink.

If it had light blue icing, it would look like something from a Dr. Seuss book.

In fact, if you are thinking of throwing any kind of Dr. Seuss birthday party, I would highly recommend this cake.

And if you're not throwing such a party, it would be great for Christmas OR Valentine's Day with just regular white icing.

Pinterest Stuff

I found these challenges, and I liked them a lot.

Seven Challenges to Make Your Kids Thankful

Night #1 - Thanks for family... mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters.

Don’t just say, “Be thankful for Mom!” Start digging for specifics by asking, “What are some of the things Mom does for you?"

Often kids give general answers, such as “Mom cooks my food.” They can develop bigger attitudes of gratitude by asking, “What does Mom cook that’s your favorite?” When they say, “Mom makes the best macaroni and cheese,” their hearts will light up more.

If kids like the way Mom cleans the house, ask, “What do you like best? Clean sheets? Clean clothes? The vacuum lines in all the carpets after she vacuums?” Mention enough specifics, and kids will catch on and think of some of their own. Praise the really creative ones and the very specific ones. Do the same with fathers, brothers, sisters and grandparents.

Night #2 - Thanks for shelter.

Children love their homes, and many who have modest homes consider them a palace. By asking what they love most about their homes you can lead them to a variety of fun answers.

Discuss each room in your house and what kids like most about it. It can be anything from the softness of the toilet roll in the bathroom to the candle on the dining room table. The details will stick, and they may think of the gratitude they discussed whenever they see that object for a while.

Night #3 - Thanks for food.

Obviously you will hear a lot about pizza, hoagies and McDonalds, but bringing up the details in a normal night’s food can encourage gratitude. Hold up a carrot and say, “Look how shiny it is. How did God get carrots to be so orange! He is a very special artist.” Swirl your fork in mashed potatoes and note how creamy they look. Notice the perfectly straight and orderly rows of seeds in a cucumber. Ask kids what smells best on their plate. Ask them what’s best about their favorite dish and note God’s creative hand in it with questions like, “How did God get pizza cheese so chewy?”

Night #4 - Thanks for our country.

Most children know the Star Spangled Banner and will know that we are the land of the free and home of the brave. In many cases the words are meaningless unless they are explained in detail. The older children may be helpful in making the younger ones understand about freedom because they have had some knowledge of countries where people were not free to worship, seek education and earn a living as they please. Again, being specific about what freedom does for us will help kids feel thankful.

Night #5 - Thanks for our bodies.

Kids are often besieged with negative information about their bodies. In school, kids get teased for being too thin, too heavy, too short or too tall, and if they wear something too old, too tight or too colorful, it can bring on the comments as well! Developing thanks can put a more positive spin on things when kids look at the details. Have them examine their fingers, then try to eat four bites of dinner with their fingers balled into fists. Ask why God gave them thumbs. Have them shut their eyes and hold their noses and try to guess which food item from your plate you’re holding in front of them. Point out how you can’t taste gravy when you’re holding your nose. Show your awe in how God designed smells and noses and freckles on noses.

Night #6 - Thanks for nature.

God’s artistry and his own love of detail can be seen in nature. Kids almost know instinctively to appreciate the sky, clouds, seashore, fields and mountains. It gets really fun when gratitude is encouraged for more specific things like “how our kitty cat’s tail curls and uncurls when she walks” or “the stripes on a zebra” or “fish lips and how they blow when our goldfish swims along.” Bring in a pine cone or a fall flower from outside and ask kids to notice as many cool details about it as possible. Thank God for each detail.

Night #7 - Thanks for God and Jesus.

We teach kids to thank God and Jesus, but we also need to remind them to be thankful for our Heavenly Father and his Loving Son. We may find that kids are more challenged over feeling grateful for the Creator than for his creation! That’s because they can’t see or hear God. The details of God can make children far more thankful. Mention attributes such as God never sleeps. Remind them of Luke 12:7 which says “the very hairs on your head are numbered,” and tell them God knows every little thing about them. Remind them Jesus came and arose from the dead so that we can go to Heaven with Him someday.

Stocking Ideas for Your Spouse

I love these ideas because I really like "theme" stockings. The older I get, a "theme" seems to make things much, much easier.

The Date Night Stocking - These gifts need to be something that can be used for date nights throughout the year: movie tickets, sports tickets, favorite treats, popcorn, etc. We are doing this theme this year, and I am getting a lot of great ideas from Amazon Local and other deal sites. Get really creative and then make memories all year-long as you use the items in your stocking.

The Memory Stocking - For your spouse’s stocking stuffers, find funny and memorable items that represent memories you have shared throughout the year. Enjoy your stockings on Christmas Eve after the kids have gone to bed and reminisce the year prior with your spouse. This can end up being really meaningful, or super funny…or a mixture of both!

The Sweet Tooth Stocking - Fill each other’s stockings with favorite snacks and treats and each night afterward, enjoy a treat and talk about each other’s day after the kid’s have gone to bed.

The Service Stocking - Get creative with this one and fill your spouse’s stocking with items of service to one another. This could be coupons for kind acts, homemade gifts, a written song or poem or notes of affection.

The Gag Gift Stocking - See who can come up with the most comical stocking stuffers. Try to keep a straight face while opening your stocking. First one to laugh loses.

The Christ-Themed stocking - Have what you put in your stocking represent something you did or became that year. Maybe it's an item that represents a trial you went through that really caused you to ask for Christ’s enabling power, or maybe it was an attribute that you developed. The entire stocking doesn’t have to take on this theme, but making a point to include at least one item could make for a meaningful Christmas. You could even mix the idea up a bit and include something Christ-like that you observed in your spouse that year.

Another direction you could take is to include something that represents a gift you are going to give to Christ in the upcoming year. Perhaps you want to be a better wife or mom, or you want to work on being more patient or you want to volunteer in a soup kitchen. Whatever it is, share it with your spouse and love and support each other as you accomplish your goals.

The Cheapster Stocking - Set a budget and fill each other’s stocking based on that budget. See who can come up with the coolest stocking.

The Creative Stocking - You can take this theme a variety of ways. One idea might be to say that everything in the stocking must be homemade, or another idea might be to theme your stocking around your spouse’s interests. Try to include something that represents your spouse in every way possible and see who comes the closest. This could include something that represents your spouse’s favorite color, favorite team, favorite animal, favorite music, favorite memory, favorite car, favorite stores, etc. Have lots of fun and become “Detectives” trying to learn new things about each other throughout the year so that you can create the most creative stocking.

I've said it before, but isn't Pinterest great?

So many ideas...

So little time!

Way Back When...

The following two articles were first posted in November of 2009.

Thankful Post-It Notes

I got this idea from reading Lisa's Blog under My Blog List. Her family is a "note" family. They leave all kinds of notes for each other around the house all the time... reminder notes, "I love you" notes, etc. It made me think of the upcoming holiday and maybe, just maybe, starting a new tradition.

I bought some colorful post-it notes and beginning Monday, I plan on leaving notes all over the house for Mikie, Austin, Josh and Roxie. The notes will not be necessarily about them, but will have things written on them for which I am thankful.

I'm planning on putting the notes up Sunday night after everyone goes to sleep. Austin will wake up to take his shower before heading back to JSU for a couple of days to find one on his mirror... "I'm thankful you get to come home Tuesday night and stay for five whole days." Anything and everything I can think of, I'm going to be writing and sticking all over the house.

And all the notes do not have to be serious in nature. I'm planning on putting one on top of our toilet that says, "I'm thankful for indoor plumbing!" Anyone who has ever gone camping truly understands the joys of indoor plumbing.

As everyone discovers the notes, I'm going to tell them where the pens and post-its are, and I'm just going to wait and see if they are "note" people, too. If not, that's okay. It's just a little experiment.

I'll let you know in a couple of weeks if this tradition is a Faulkner Family "keeper," but it's definitely easy, meaningful and worth trying.

A Christmas Card Story... Sorta

I talked to a friend in the grocery store this week. She said she was thinking of sending a "real" Christmas card letter with her cards this year. I'm not sure I'm brave enough to do that, but wouldn't it be fun to be that free.

Here's a little example... NORMAL CHRISTMAS CARD LETTER - "It has been a fantastic year, and even with all the wonderful and amazing events which took place over the last 12 months, I haven't changed a bit and can still wear my 14 year-old daughter's skinny jeans comfortably. People are constantly coming up to us and asking if we are sisters. I hope you and yours are aging as well as The Faulkner Five. Merry, Merry Christmas!"

REAL CHRISTMAS CARD LETTER - "I've gone up a size in the jean department, and that's why the only part of me showing in the Christmas card picture is my face from my nose up. Perfect placement of the three giant kids and the two beagles is key! Menopause and gravity are taking their toll, and I'm trying daily not to kill Mikie and the kids as my mood swings are not yet controlled by the massive medication my idiot doctor said should help. Oh, well. Hope you and yours have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

Like I said... I'm not sure I'm brave enough, but it is a very intriguing idea, isn't it?

Have a great rest of the week. I'll be back sometime Friday with a lot of Thanksgiving/Christmas "stuff," pics and more.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. I may or may not have already posted some of these pics. And I'm in too much of a hurry to go back and check.

If you're like me, you cannot get enough of Austin and Melia's wedding.

If you're not like me, feel free to not go any further!

Tim (Melia's Dad) and Melia.

Lisa (Melia's Mom) and Melia.

The Wedding Dress... without Melia.

Austin, Roxie and Josh.

Just Austin.

(I knew you'd go ahead and look. I just knew it!)

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