Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Someone had a birthday...

Good Wednesday evening!

I am still planning to post the rest of my Christmas pics and such Friday, but today is December 30...

And someone I know had a very special birthday today.

She is exactly one year old.

She is sweet...

And sassy...

And altogether lovely.

We are all looking forward to the new year...

And Miss Judith's birthday party this coming Sunday.

Unless I miss my guess, 2016 should be pretty epic!

I'll see you Friday!


The Enchanting Belinda (a/k/a Nana B)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Weekend Happenings, Frozen Meals (Tater Tot Casserole), A New Kind of Reindeer Food AND Quotable Quotes

Good Friday evening!

I had a little "life stuff" happen this past week, so I apologize for the lack of a post last Friday.

On the other hand, I am posting ON CHRISTMAS DAY, so I fully expect to be TOTALLY forgiven.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Last Friday night, we had our Palisades Christmas Party in Oneonta with my extended family. If you have never been, The Palisades has everything you need for a family Christmas celebration.

Millions of lights...

And they don't charge you a set amount to drive around the park and look. They simply ask for a small donation as you enter the gates.

Santa Claus has a home mid-way through the park, so you can stop and visit with him for a few minutes.

There are beautiful lodges which comfortably and easily hold 20, 30, 40 or more people. The lodges are decorated for Christmas and have full kitchens, tables, chairs, clean restrooms AND a wood burning fireplace.

We have the same menu each year (soups, chili, sandwiches and desserts).

The "kids" put on coats and walk around the entire park looking at the lights after dinner.

We play games each year. (This year, we played Pictionary, and it was lovely.)

All in all, it is something four generations of my family have been enjoying for years and years and years.

The entrance!

Roxie and Monica.

Katie and Stephanie.

Josh, Brad AND Roxie.

Can you find her?

Judith and Aunt Roxie.

Judith and Uncle Austin.

Monica and Katie.

Aunt Melia, Uncle Austin and Judith.

Nana B and the back of Judith.

Nana B and the front of Judith.

See how much fun everyone is having playing Pictionary?


Judith with Pop.

You may notice Pop is wearing a large peach bauble necklace.

Pop will do a lot of things to make Judith happy.

Josh and Judith.

Roxie, Abbie and Tyler.

Katie and Tommy.

Mallie and Zac.

Is it just me, or do we have some of the most beautiful chicks ever created in our family?


I didn't think it was just me!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Last year, Melia and Austin started a tradition called Sibling Christmas. Melia's younger brother, Payton, and Austin's sibings (you know who they are) went to their house for dinner and a Christmas movie. It was a success last year, so Melia wanted to try it again...

Except tornados were expected during the scheduled party time this year...

And Melia and Austin live in the upper level of an apartment complex...

With no basement.

So she asked me if I minded having the party at the house and she would supply all of the food, entertainment, etc.

And I said, "Okay!"

It was pretty great. She fixed all of the food and hauled it over here. She even made shortbread cookies with royal icing ready for decorating in bags.

Technically, I do not want to ever have another December with 70 degree temps and the threat of tornados...

But if it means Melia and the rest of my peeps will show up at my door with lots of food and homemade cookies...

Well, I might have to reconsider

Austin immediately got into decorating mode.

Josh and Courtney.

Quotable Quotes

I know you've heard it a bunch this year (and every year), but it just happens to be one of my favorites...

"It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags! Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! 'Maybe Christmas,' he thought, 'doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!'" Dr. Seuss

A New Kind of Reindeer Food

I cannot remember where I read it this past week, but a Mom told about their family tradition of feeding Santa's reindeer...

The kids put on their Christmas pajamas and head outside with a bag of peanuts in the shells. They stand in front of the house and try to throw the peanuts on the roof for the reindeer.

I think that is brilliant, simple and fun, and I would have SO tried it with my guys "back in the day."

Tater Tot Casserole

You will need the following:

1 pound ground turkey
2 pound frozen tater tots
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 can evaporated milk

1. Brown meat, drain, separate into 2 greased 8" x 8" pans.

2. Top with tater tots.

3. Mix soups and evaporated milk together and pour over tops of tater tots.

4. Cover with plastic and then foil, and freeze.

Instructions for baking:

1. Bake from freezer topped with foil for about 1 hour, or until warmed throughout.

2. Remove foil and bake for additional 10 to 15 minutes.

Weekend Happenings

1. Tomorrow morning around 10:00 a.m., Mike, Roxie and I are headed to Cleveland, Alabama to Animal Rescue. We're going to love on a lot of dogs, and see if maybe, just maybe, one of them needs to come home with us. (Of course, this will all depend on the lovely weather we've been experiencing this past week or so. If it is going to be too messy, we may wait until a nicer day.)

2. We have church Sunday morning, and Roxie and I may head out for just a wee bit of shopping Sunday afternoon.

I know.

What could we possibly want/need/desire that would make us leave our home and go to a MALL?

I'll let you know.

I hope you have had a Merry Christmas. I'll be back next Friday with a full account of any and all Christmas happenings here in little ol' Gardendale, Alabama.


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, December 11, 2015

Weekend Happenings, Pinterest Stuff (What's in the Christmas Bag?) AND Blog Linkage

Hey, Guys.

I'll start this post by telling you I am filled with angst.

RANDOMNESS #1 - That's a good word, isn't it?


I like saying it, but I do not care to be filled with it.

So today, I am torn...

What with being full of angst and all.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Hartselle (where My Josh lives), and I saw a flyer in a store advertising Hartselle's Christmas Parade.

I made a mental note, and checked with all of my peeps. Everyone was free and clear to attend.

I allowed myself to be happy...

Dare I say, euphoric even.

Another good word.

On Wednesday afternoon, I developed what may or may not have been a teeny, tiny migraine. I felt pretty lousy the rest of Wednesday, but it never occurred to me I might not be able to attend the Thursday night festivities.


By 3:00 Thursday, it became apparent to me my body was willing, but my head had other ideas about me watching the Hartselle Christmas Parade.

I told Roxie to take 30 pics.

She took 24, but I was happy with the effort...

Plus, it hurt my head and eyeballs too much to fuss about it.

Here are just a few!

Roxie and Ragan.

Austin and Melia.

These two have been sick this week, too, but they were holiday troopers.

Melia, Austin, Josh, Roxie and Ragan.

Courtney and Judith bowed out late Thursday afternoon because of illness, too.

Roxie and Mike.

Roxie and Josh.

Roxie and Ragan.


I'm beginning to think Roxie not only didn't take 30 pics...

She may not have taken any of them!

The photo of Roxie wearing a Statue of Liberty hat screams "Merry Christmas!"

Blog Linkage - Go to Nesting Place under My Blog List and check out her list of gifts for under $25.

I like them all!

Pinterest Stuff

What's in the Christmas Bag?

A Preschool Game

To play, gather up several Christmas-themed items from around your house. When we played, I gathered the following items:

A Santa hat
A pine cone
A bow
A mini Christmas tree
An ornament
A bell

Next, you will need bags for each of the items you’ve selected. The bags must all be the same and should be opaque so kids cannot see the object inside.

Place one Christmas object inside each bag.

NOTE - For younger children, I would suggest displaying the items and discussing what each is called before putting the items into the bags. For older kids, you can make this game more challenging by simply hiding the objects in bags before the kids have had a chance to see them.

Blindfold the kids. Mine like to wear their hats over their faces, which works pretty well.

One by one, present your child with a bag. Have him or her reach a hand inside to feel the object.

The goal is for your children to guess what the object is without using their eyes. Encourage your children to use their sense of touch, as well as their sense of hearing or sense of smell, to help them identify the object.

Once your child guesses the object, let him or her take off the blindfold and see what object he or she is holding.

After playing a round, put the objects back in the bag so the kids can blindfold you to play again!

Weekend Happenings

1. Today was a soup-cookin' kind of day.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.

2. On Saturday, Roxie and I are meeting Courtney and Judith to go bridesmaid dress shopping...

AND I am attending an Upwards Basketball game...

BECAUSE Austin is coaching...

AND Mike is the Assistant Coach.

Saturday evening, Grandmother, Mike and I are attending our church's Christmas Program.

Wedding stuff, sports stuff and Christmas stuff.

3. And when Sunday rolls around, we'll be doing church stuff.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful weekend. I'll be back next Friday with a few more Christmas tidbits, pics and recipes. Take care!


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, December 4, 2015

Weekend Happenings, Chicken Biscuit Casserole, Pinterest Stuff (Seasonal Traditions AND Family Gift Ideas)

Good Friday afternoon!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Black Friday came and went last week. Amy, Monica, Bev, Roxie and I met at The Galleria AFTER a good Thursday night's sleep. Our room was ready upon arrival (which has never happened before), so off we went to Belk's for the famous BOOT SALE.

I want you to know I was pleasantly surprised to find the air conditioning humming in Belk's (which has never been the case before). It made wading through piles upon piles upon piles of boots a pleasure, I tell you.

And something else that was a pleasure...

Finding the last pair of taupe boots in the style Roxie wanted before giving up on the whole "I must have a pair of boots from the Belk's Boot Sale before heading to Bath and Body to obtain the Black Friday TOTE!"

All in all, the day was very successful. We all met in the Food Court around 6:00 to partake of Food Court food before heading to our movie of choice for 2015 (Mockingjay 2).

We walked into our hotel room at 11:15 too pooped to play a game, but NOT too pooped to eat some mini Gigi's Christmas Cupcakes.

A little Chick Fil-A breakfast Saturday morning, 30 minutes more shopping and we were off to our respective houses.

Life is good when 53 percent of your Christmas shopping is complete.

Not excellent...

But real good.

RANDOMNESS #2 - I had originally thought only part of the family would be able to go to Pine Hill Tree Farm Sunday afternoon, but it turned out everyone was free to go.

I was an extremely happy camper.

Judith and Uncle Austin.

Her first time to go to the farm...

Uncle Austin's 20th.

As is our custom, everyone under 50 gets to saw a little bit.

Roxie and Courtney.

Josh and Courtney.

It looks like we really made Courtney work, doesn't it?

The famous reindeer.

Judith being a big girl in the sleigh.

Austin and Melia.

Josh and Courtney.

Judith being an angel...


Josh, Courtney and Judith taking a tractor ride.

And to make everyone out there who isn't finished decorating yet feel better about themselves...

My tree is still not up in the den OR decorated.

It might as well still be planted at the tree farm!

Decorating seems to be less and less "my thing" as each year comes and goes.

But I'm good at other things.

I always tell myself that while I look at all the beautifully decorated homes on Insta.

Just don't ask me what the "other things" are at this moment.


RANDOMNESS #3 - My Nana B Bag was overflowing this week. I thoroughly enjoyed my "jobs," and the longer this goes on, the more I feel I am doing the perfect "right this minute" THING in my life.

These were some of the things in my Nana B Bag this week:

1. 100 Red Solo Cups - These were a HUGE hit with the under 4 crowd. (I am talking over 30 minutes of play at a time!)

2. Miniature marshmallows - Marshmallow snowman pics anyone? It was a shorter activity, but still a hit.

3. Red, green and gold sparkly pipe cleaners from The Dollar Tree - I asked one Mom for a colander before she left. Luckily, it was red! It took about 20 minutes, but a very creative four year-old made a lovely Christmas centerpiece for the dining room table making sure every hole had a pipe cleaner sticking out of it.

4. Christmas "break-and-bake" chocolate chip cookies.

5. Snowman stickers to go along with the marshmallow snowman pic mentioned above.

6. Always, always, always different books depending on the season!

It was a great week with some sweet kiddos.

I'm already thinking about what I need to put in my Nana B Bag for this upcoming week.


Chicken Biscuit Casserole

You will need the following:

1 can of biscuits
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 small can English peas
Half a bag of frozen peas
2 cups cooked chicken
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Spray an 8" x 8" glass dish with cooking spray. Mix together in a large bowl the can of cream of chicken and 1/2 cup of sour cream until well blended.

3. Mix in the chicken, peas, milk and melted butter. Once everything is combined, pour into the glass dish.

4. Sprinkle the cheese on top.

5. Place your biscuits on top. Flatten your biscuits a little before placing them. This helps prevent them from tasting doughy and they get a better crunch on top.

I tried this one last night, and it was pretty delicious! It definitely falls into the category of "comfort food."

Pinterest Stuff

Even More Stocking Stuffers

Beef jerky
Trail mix
Paper straws and cupcake wrappers
Postage stamps
Keurig coffee pods

Ice Cream Sundae Bar in a Box Gift

This sounded like a very fun gift to give...

Toppings of our choice included, but are not limited to: Gummy Bears, M&Ms, mini marshmallows and colorful sprinkles.

I fill up a sandwich Ziploc baggie with each topping.

I add hot fudge and caramel sauces, and put them in little mason jars with tags just cause they are so stinkin’ cute!

I also add an array of sugar cones, cute paper bowls, wooden spoons and a cute ice cream scoop.

Package everything up nice and tidy in a box, and send it on it’s way. So fun and such a great way to surprise someone and brighten their day!

Weekend Happenings

1. Friday night belongs to me and Mikie! That means leftovers AND trying to finish up the decorating.

2. We get to spend a little time with Josh Saturday morning before heading to an Upwards Basketball Game.

Austin asked Mike to be his Assistant Coach, so I am all about sitting in the bleachers ONE MORE TIME and checking this out!

3. I hope, hope, hope Mike and I can go to the German Christmas Market late Saturday afternoon until it closes. It is called Das Haus and it will be opened from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. It is located at 2318 2nd Avenue North in Birmingham, and some of the festivities include the following:

German food and dessert
Hot chocolate and coffee
Arts and crafts (Mikie's favorite)
Christmas ornaments and gifts
Live Christmas music
Santa Claus

This is a FREE event. They are asking for a $1 donation.

I cannot wait!

4. Our great-nephew, Micah, is being dedicated Sunday morning at his home church. Mike and I hope to attend before heading to a Christmas event at his place of work.

A busy weekend, but it definitely has some FUN potential, too.

My favorite kind of weekend!

Have a terrific holiday weekend. Plan on doing something Christmasy each and every day of December, and I will do the same! I'll be back next Friday with more, more, more Christmas goodness.


The Enchanting Belinda

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Pioneer Woman's Scalloped Potatoes with Ham AND Pinterest Stuff (Different Christmas Traditions)

Good Saturday afternoon!

RANDOMNESS #1 - We babysat Judith last Saturday, and once again, she did not disappoint.

She looks cute and innocent...

Until she tries to eat my new ottoman.

This is my new "unhung" mirror, but I was glad she enjoyed it eye level for a little while.

Walking with Pop.

As you can see, taking a walk is serious business.

RANDOMNESS #2 - We had what we now refer to as Thanksgiving Sunday at Grandmother's house.

Obviously, Thanksgiving dinner is not as satisfying when it comes in a baby food jar.

Zac and his very sweet girlfriend, Mallie.

Josh, Courtney and Judith.

Judith is looking at Uncle Austin...

Also known as "Photobomber Extraordinaire."

Hunter and Roxie...

I am going to edit this pic as soon as I learn how to use my new software, but I am afraid nothing will get rid of the giant hands.

T. J. and Katie.

T. J. was working out of town, but not to worry...

He made it home for Thursday Thanksgiving.

I love Melia in orange.

Roxie and Katie.

One more time.

RANDOMNESS #3 - This past August, we had to put Sparkle to sleep.

This past September, Copper disappeared.

We added Sparkle to our family as a puppy, and we had her one week shy of 14 years.

Copper was already three or four years old when we "rescued" him, and he was with our family for nine years.

I have been missing the pups.

Heavy, heavy sigh.

On a whim, I asked Roxie to ride with me to Cleveland, Alabama to the Animal Rescue Center.


There are so many dogs available for adoption at this Center. If you're thinking of adding to your family this Christmas, I highly recommend visiting this facility.

My pick of the group was this little butterscotch-colored pup.

You cannot tell how pretty he is because not only is he a dog, but he is also a contortionist.

This lab was super sweet. It slowly walked up to Roxie and put one paw at a time on her shoulders and gave her a very big hug.

We melted.

We haven't made any firm decisions yet, but I know I will be going back in the very near future.

RANDOMNESS #4 - We celebrated Thursday Thanksgiving with Mike's family in Oxford.

Roxie was in charge of the apple pie.

She did good!

Meet the newest member of our family...


Son to Jared and Amber...

And brother to Mackenzie.


Great-Uncle Mike and Micah.

Cousin Austin and Micah.

Roxie, Josh, Austin and Melia.

Melia and Austin.

Don't ask.

Lauren, the majorette.

Lauren, the helicopter.

Pioneer Woman's Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

I made these for Thursday Thanksgiving, and I will most definitely be making them again.

You will need the following:

3 pounds Russet Or Yukon Gold potatoes, washed thoroughly
2 tablespoons butter
1 whole yellow onion, diced
3 cups diced ham
1 1/2 cup half-and-half
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup flour
Black pepper to taste
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large casserole dish.

2. Heat butter in a large skillet. Add onions and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until they start to turn translucent. Add ham and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Combine half-and-half and cream in a microwave-safe container and nuke for a minute or so, until no longer cold. Whisk in flour and black pepper until totally combined. Set aside. (You may add salt, but cheese and ham are salty, so add sparingly.)

4. Combine the two grated cheeses. Set aside.

5. Using a slicer, slice potatoes into 1/8" slices (very thin.) Layer 1/3 of the potato slices in the buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the ham/onion mixture, then 1/3 of the cheese and then pour on 1/3 of the cream mixture.

6. Repeat this twice more, ending with a sprinkling of cheese and a pouring on of the rest of the cream mixture. Cover dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes at least, or until bubbly and hot.

7. Serve!

(Note: To speed along the process a bit, you may boil sliced potatoes for 3 to 5 minutes before assembling the casserole. Just drain and slightly cool before assembling.)

Pinterest Stuff

Kindness/Service Elves

The following was taken directly from Pinterest...

I recently went to a women’s activity at my church and someone suggested kindness or service elves. These are similar to ever-popular Elf on Shelf, but each day, the elves leave an act of kindness or service they hope the kids will do that day. It can be anything from smiling to everyone at school, making their sibling's bed or taking cookies to a neighbor. I love this idea, because it focuses more on helping your children to do good. The lady who mentioned it said that once they started doing this, she felt her child’s greediness and bickering started to melt away. I love it!

Open a New Game

This is an idea my sister started doing with her family, and I think it’s a great idea! On Christmas Eve, the family opens a new game, and they all play it together. The next morning if it’s not time to wake up yet to look at what Santa brought, the kids play the game together.

White Stocking

Throughout the month of December, there is a simple white stocking hanging on the mantle. Everyone is encouraged to write down something that is their gift to Christ or someone or something they are thankful for during the past year. On Christmas Eve, read them aloud. It’s anonymous, but have fun trying to guess who said what.

Homemade Doughnuts

On Christmas Eve, we make homemade doughnuts for everyone to enjoy. It’s fun to come up with different flavors and ideas, and there’s nothing better than a freshly made doughnut.

Christmas Bucket List

There are always so many different Christmas activities going on during December. While you can’t do everything, at the beginning of the month you could sit down with your family and come up with a bunch of different ideas of what you want to do during the month.

Okay, my Friends. That's it for this week. I'll be back next Friday with Christmas Tree Farm pics, stories, traditions and more.


The Enchanting Belinda
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