Friday, July 31, 2015

Weekend Happenings, Blog Linkage AND Restaurant Review (Hot and Hot Fish Club)

Good Friday afternoon!

MISCELLANEOUS #1 - We returned from our week-long Third Annual Lake Vacation this past Wednesday, and I have to say, when I weigh the pros and cons, it was the best one yet.


I'll show you.


1. The house was exactly what we wanted. Rambling... big dining spaces... big "watching movies together" spaces... gourmet kitchen (a treat for me)... AND rain forest shower heads.

2. The beds were like clouds. I couldn't wait to go to bed every night.

3. The water was just right. There was a really good swimming area at the end of our dock.

4. Fishing was good. Not perfect, but Mikie didn't catch his lip with a lure this year, so I wanted to put this one in the "Pros" section.

5. Tubing was fun.

6. Game nights were fun. I learned how to play Mexican Train Dominoes, and while I was an extremely good player, I didn't ultimately win any of the games.

Again, I almost put this under "Cons," but decided against it.

7. Austin and Melia prepared two meals. Josh prepared one. (Fun for me!)

8. Good weather for the most part.

9. Sunset boat rides in the cool of the evening are my favorite thing to do... EVER.

10. A total of ten family members and friends were able to visit with us sometime during the week... and there was room for everyone.

11. When Grandmother came for a visit, she and I were able to jump in the car and ride for ten minutes to visit some old friends we haven't seen in several years.


1. I have to learn to relax more. Melia told me her family vacation motto, and I think it is a good one for me to incorporate.

"If you're not having fun on vacation, it's your own fault."

It takes a lot of pressure off me, I tell you!

2. Josh was only able to come one day and night because of his work schedule. He's only been at this job for six months, so asking off or switching shifts isn't really an option at this point.

But next year...

Watch out, Baby!

He's going to take some vacation days!

3. The giant movie nights didn't happen. I thought we would play games AND watch a movie, but we are all much older now, so it turned into an either/or situation.

Movie OR games...

Because we are so old and tired, you see.

Not both.

4. The boat broke down our second morning at the lake. This was only a con because it happened at all. Mike found a great "boat guy," and the boat was up and running by the time lunch was over the same day.

And it didn't cost us an arm and a leg.

Actually, this does need to be in the "Pros" section, doesn't it?

5. Our last night there, I tripped and fell...

And dropped my precious camera.

There was a chance when I tripped I would fall in the soft green grass OR the hard rock walkway.

My body chose the hard rock walkway.

I guess technically this was a "Pro," too, because my camera wasn't broken...

And neither was I.


When you look at the two lists, it's a no-brainer.

We are going to rent the same house again next year!

It has already been decided.

Five seconds after we arrived, Mikie started picking out "his chair" for the week.

There were five girls in all the first night and day...

And I wish they could have stayed the entire time.

College-bound chicks are no trouble at all.

Hannah, Savanna, Ally, Roxie and Alyssa.

One of our views.



My favorite... a sunset.

One of many tubing pics.

Roxie and Hunter.

One of many couple pics.

Austin and Melia.

This was one of my favorite things.

It is a little island in the middle of the lake and at dusk, it is ALWAYS covered with white birds.

Not gray birds...

Not black birds...

Just white ones.

MISCELLANEOUS #2 - As of today, we have only 8 more days until we move Roxie into her dorm. I find I am still in denial, and whenever anyone starts talking about her imminent departure, I start humming... Cat in the Cradle... Sunrise, Sunset... Billy, Don't be a Hero... the theme from Brian's Song...

You get the idea.

Tons to do.

I am in list-makin' heaven.

I'll let you in on some "empty nest" thoughts in next Friday's post.

I have a lot of them.

Blog Linkage - Run over to www.kellehampton.com and read today's post about her Michigan vacation with her three kiddos. It makes me want to go to Michigan right away, and I can honestly say, I've never felt like that before!

Restaurant Review - Hot and Hot Fish Club - Mike and I went to this uber-stylish eatery with some people he works with, and it was SO good.

When we first arrived, we were seated in what I think was the main dining room. Pretty.

I kept it simple and ordered the Simple Grilled Fish which on this particular evening was Amberjack. (I looked at the menu this morning and it is Yellow Fin Tuna now, so obviously it changes from day to day.)

I shared Mike's appetizer because I didn't want to be too full for my Simple Grilled Fish. Let it be known, from now on I will just order his appetizer for my main course. It was called Tomato Salad, and it was fresh, light and delicious.

Let it also be known, I am not a raw tomato eater, but I would gladly eat two or three of these in one sitting and not feel the least bit guilty.

My Simple Grilled Amberjack was also wonderful, as was my dessert.

Mike and I are planning on going back for our anniversary in January...

Where I will dine on three Tomato Salads.

Check out the menu before you go, but I highly recommend this place!

Weekend Happenings

1. Tonight, Roxie will be with several thousand other young people at Motion15 downtown. Mike is scheduled to work on Austin's truck with him, and if nothing changes, Bev and I are going out to eat somewhere fantastic with Mom. (Do not be disappointed if I report next week we ate at Cracker Barrel. "Fantastic" is in the eye of the beholder.)

2. On Saturday, Roxie will again be attending Motion15. And if things work out the way I would like, Mike and I will be babysitting Judith for a few hours tomorrow night.

I am charging the camera battery as we speak.

3. Sunday is going to be a Roxie-intensive day. After church, we have a list of five must-have items for our move to Auburn. Five items is a pretty big list considering we do not shop over 20 minutes at a time.

I haven't mentioned the tricky part.

The five items are in four different stores...

In two different mall locations.



If you do the math, and I highly recommend you do so you can fully appreciate the genius that is ME, that allows only five minutes per store (not counting travel time).

We can do it, but I'm afraid some medication might be required...

And a couple of ice coffees...

And a foot rub when we return home.

(And I'm talking about Roxie... not me.)

I'll be back next Friday with a lot of post-moving pics, I am sure.

I hope you and yours have an amazing weekend and week. Until Friday, take care!


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, July 17, 2015

Weekend Happenings, Polka Dot Cake AND Pinterest Stuff (Summer Things AND Travel Activity Box)

Good Friday morning!

NUGGETS AND TIDBITS - I just wanted to let y'all know we took Sparkle to the vet a couple of weeks ago, and our doctor put her to sleep. She was 13 years-old. She was sweet, sassy and a lady through and through. She was loved, and she will be missed.

As you can see from her body language, Roxie was pretty sure Mike was kidding when he first brought Sparkle home.

Roxie, Josh and Sparkle.

Sparkle in 2014.

Copper refuses to sleep on the big bed they shared on the deck. He sleeps under the steps or beside the bed.

The first two days after she left, he waited patiently for her return.

He is loved, and we are so happy he is still with us.

MISCELLANEOUS - Last Saturday night, Melia hosted a Door Hanger Paint Party, and Bev, Roxie, Courtney, Judith, Melia and I all attended.

It was great fun!

Melia made a sunflower door hanger with a Chevron-striped pot.

Too cute.

Courtney painted the mason jar door hanger and although it says Roll Tide, I thought it was pretty cute...

Especially with Judith's handprint.

After all of our hard work, we had fantastic snacks...

And Judith took a little nap.

I don't like to brag, BUT it would appear I am naturally talented when it comes to painting giant sunflower door hangers.

Who knew?

NOTE - The chalkboard mason jar door hanger belongs to Roxie. She is going to take it to Auburn in a couple of weeks.

Polka Dot Cake

Okay. This isn't so much a recipe as a "fun thing to add" to your cake recipe.

I used a red velvet cake mix and mixed it per directions. Then I added six or seven glazed doughnut holes and pushed them to the bottom of the mix.

Except for the fact they kept coming back to the top of the cake mix no matter what I did...

And except for the other fact they made the top of the cake extremely LUMPY...

They did indeed make perfectly round white polka dots in the cake.

Not a pretty, pretty cake, but still kinda fun.

Pinterest Stuff

MORE Summer Things

1. Go on a worm hunt before you go fishing at a local pond or lake.

2. Go to the local sno cone stand. (We have one of these in The Dale, and it has always been a treat.)

3. Go to a yard sale, but instead of just looking around, have a small list of specific things you want to purchase. Give the list to your child. (Board games, books, DVDs, outside toys, etc.)

4. Play dodgeball as a family.

Activity Box for Road Tripping Preschoolers

Depending on how you use the box and how creative you get, the entertainment can last for hours! There is one rule... To make the box last longer, only pull one activity out at a time.

Stickers and rolled up colored paper

Magnifying glass

Pipe cleaners - Use the pipe cleaners to form letters, shapes, measure things, make pretend mustaches, poke each other, have a sword fight, etc.


Silly Putty - Stretch it, make it into a ball, fold it and hear it snap, copy writing in pencil, imprint textures, make a ring to wear, etc.

Band-aids and rubbing alcohol pads - Pretend to be a doctor with alcohol pad and bandages. Make animals with the band-aids (butterflies, snakes, etc.). Make shapes with the band-aids (triangles, squares, etc.). Use the alcohol pads to clean things (arm rest, window, etc.).

Laser pointer or small flashlight

Noise Makers


Mini mirrors - Practice making different faces (sad, glad, pouty, mad, etc.).

Small toy figurines or cars - Use a large shoebox lid as a play surface with the toys and/or cars.

Folded aluminum foil - Try to discover textures by wrapping foil around them (hand, bottom of shoe, edge of seat). Make foil into various shapes, letters, etc.


Light colored markers

Disposable camera

Scissors – Have several magazine pages in the box to cut.

Finger puppets

Weekend Happenings

1. Roxie is coming home from camp today! It is amazing how upbeat and happy I am. I plan on sitting across from her and staring for a few hours...

And then I'll call it a day!

2. Josh is coming home tomorrow! And he is bringing Courtney and Judith. I plan on taking pictures and holding Judith the entire time she is here.

3. I don't know what is happening on Sunday, but I don't know if it can compare to the fun I will be having Friday night and Saturday.

Have a fantastic weekend. I'll be back next Friday with at least TWO restaurant reviews AND a new recipe.

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


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, July 10, 2015

Weekend Happenings, Pinterest Stuff (Summer To-Do List AND Classic Movies) AND Blog Linkage

Good Friday afternoon!

MISCELLANEOUS #1 - If I had a Summer word this year, it would be "classic."

What things did I enjoy doing as a child?

What do I remember most about those long summer days?

And these are the answers to those questions.

I LOVED catching lightning bugs, eating homemade peach ice cream at Mrs. Davis' house after church on Sunday night and playing kickball with all of the neighborhood kids late in the afternoon.

I also enjoyed riding my bike down the huge hill to the end of my street a few minutes before my Daddy was due home. A handful of us would be waiting, he would stop his truck, load the bikes and take us to the top of the hill once again.

I went to the community pool as often as the weather would allow, and since it was located next to the library, I would either go there before or after swimming to check out dozens and dozens of mystery books during the months of June, July and August.

Trixie Beldon, Meg and Nancy Drew were my favorites, but I would pretty much read anything and everything I could get my hands on.

We would take a bath, put on our pajamas, crawl into the backseat of the car and head to the drive-in on occasion. It was almost always a double feature, and Bev and I would fall asleep during the second movie and wake up just a little bit when we were carried into the house and put into our beds.

In my memory, we went to a place called Pinedale Shores almost every Friday during the Summer with a group of other moms and kids. In actuality, my Mom has told me we might have gone once or twice each Summer. It obviously made a HUGE impression on me.

We would play in the lake, go down a giant slide in the middle of the swim area for hours and hours and ride home exhausted, but happy, in the back of the car while eating gingersnaps and drinking Kool-Aid.


Those are some of the things I remember about my summers as a kid.


But I want to share something with y'all, in case you have an opportunity to try it with your kiddos this year or next.

As I mentioned above, my Daddy had a pick-up truck. One day, he filled the back of the truck with pillows, blankets, sheets, etc. and all of the neighborhood kids made plans to sleep "under the stars" in the back of the truck that night.

We met after we all had dinner at our respective houses, climbed into the back of the truck, ate our snacks, told ghost stories and quickly ruined any and all plans we had to stay the entire night by scaring ourselves silly.

I think we might have made it to 9:15.

But I never forgot that couple of hours.

The anticipation.

The fun.

The adventure.

And I just think that might be something so fun to do WITH your kids (so you could actually last until the next morning). And if you did it with your own kids, you could even plan on going to the truck at 9:00 or 9:30, talk, snack, cuddle, wrestle, etc. before falling asleep safe and sound as a family.

Will the neighbors look at you a little strangely the next morning as you and yours crawl out of the back of a truck onto your driveway?

Somehow, I don't think that's what really matters.

Do you?

MISCELLANEOUS #2- Our 4th of July in Central Alabama started out very rainy. Since I had planned on outside games for the masses, I quickly called some of my peeps and made sure we had dominoes, cards and checkers aplenty.

It was an unnecessary call. By the time everyone arrived, the sun was shining, so we were able to do the whole cornhole/yard darts/spike ball thing in the driveway...

And it was fun.

We didn't do the horseshoes.

It was just a little too-too damp, and I knew the flinging of giant iron horseshoes would just leave big, ol' holes in the yard.

But next year...

Next year will be a different story!

Okay. So this is a new idea for me.

I bought a burlap canvas at Hobby Lobby and ran off a bunch of favorite 4th of July pics from 2013 in all different sizes... 10" x 13", 5" x 7" and 4" x 6".

I just made a big collage and hung them in our dining room.

When August rolls around, I am going to do the same thing with old August pics.

I plan on taking down the 2013 4th of July pics and putting them in a manila envelope to use a few years down the road.

It will just be something easy to look at and remember some of our history month to month.

Austin took the camera from me and took the following pics.

I was happy to have the help, and he did a really good job.

Mike and Judith.

Judith and Roxie.

The table.

Grandmother's birthday cake.

I am going to share the recipe with you next week. (There are doughnut holes in the center of the red velvet cake, so when you cut it you have the polka-dot thing happening.)

Katie and Roxie.


Josh and Courtney.

Courtney and Judith won the car wash, by the way. They were the MOST festive in the red, white and blue department.

Austin and Melia.

Josh, Courtney, Austin and Roxie playing spike ball.

Grandmother about to blow out her candles.

Grandmother opening her gifts.

We did something a little different this year. Instead of just giving Grandmother Gift Certificates, we told everyone to buy her something from the Cracker Barrel Gift Store. No one bought the same thing, and she received a lot of surprises (candles, clothing, candy, dishes, etc.).

T.J. and Katie.

Stephanie and Brad.

Mike and me.

Blog Linkage - Please leave here immediately and go to www.kellehampton.com.

I can't even...

You can come back here when you finish, but do not skip the blog linkage today.


Pinterest Stuff

Summer To-Do List

1. Visit DIFFERENT local parks. You can uncover hidden gems you haven’t visited before. You can even create a rating system for the kids so you can find the park everyone loves best.

2. Design and paint your own FAMILY customized t-shirt. Keep the design simple, but let the kids paint their own t-shirt... even if it isn't perfect.

Plan on wearing the t-shirts as a family when you do certain things together during the Summer (blueberry picking, pool cover-ups, drive-in movie, etc.).

3. Find a simple jam or jelly recipe. Pick the fruit TOGETHER, make the spread TOGETHER, can the jam or jelly TOGETHER.

4. Plant a sunflower garden and measure them throughout the Summer.

Classic Movies to Watch on a Rainy Day

An American Tail – 1986 – Rated G
Babe – 1995 – Rated G
Beethoven – 1992 – Rated PG
Charlotte’s Web – 1973 – Rated G
Free Willy – 1993 – Rated PG
The Great Muppet Caper – 1981 – Rated G
Harry and the Hendersons – 1987 – Rated PG
The Herbie Movies (The Love Bug, Herbie Rides Again, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Herbie Goes Bananas) – 1969, 1974, 1977, 1980 – Rated G
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids – 1989 – Rated PG
Jumanji – 1995 – Rated PG
The Karate Kid – 1984 – Rated PG
The Muppet Movie – 1979 – Rated G
The Parent Trap – 1961 – Rated PG
The Wizard of Oz – 1939 – Rated G

Weekend Happenings

1. Our family has been getting over a 4th of July bug this past week. Out of the 17 people in attendance on the 4th, seven came down with a virus.

And three of them live at this address.

We are all fine now, but we have no huge plans this Friday evening because we just want to rest and get ready for our much-anticipated, much-deserved WEEKEND.

2. Roxie and I will be shopping and gathering all day tomorrow. She is helping with a camp this next week, and as is our custom, we are not the least bit ready.

I could blame it on our illness, but with or without, Roxie and I would be shopping and gathering all day tomorrow.

3. Melia is having a paint party tomorrow night, and Bev, Roxie, Courtney and I are heading over to her Mom's house to paint Sunflower Door Hangers OR Mason Jar Door Hangers. I'll have pictures of those next Friday. (I am painting the Sunflower!)

4. Sunday is church, lunch and making sure Roxie gets to her "place" on time.

I know these week-long absences are going to help me when she leaves for college IN LESS THAN A MONTH, but right now, I could do without them.

And deep down, I think she feels the same way.

Anyway, that is what I choose to believe.

Have a delightful weekend. I'll be back next Friday with a post full of useful, pertinent and fascinating information.

Or maybe not.


The Enchanting Belinda
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