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Friday, October 30, 2015

Weekend Happenings, 54 Year-Old Woman Probs, Pinterest Stuff (Gift Ideas for Older Kids, New Date Ideas AND Halloween Party Games)

Good Friday evening!

FUTURE BUSINESS ENDEAVORS - Still getting calls and spending time with new kiddos this week. This has been exactly what I had hoped, and maybe, just maybe, I have found my Empty Nesting Calling! I am going to share this again, because every time I do, it seems to work in my favor!

Here are the details...

I will stay with your kiddos for one to three hours. (Not over three.)

I will come to your home. (No judgment about messy, lived-in homes. Been there, done that, know how it feels.)

My NANA-FOR-HIRE services are available Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

I am available for Moms in the Fultondale, Morris, Mount Olive and Gardendale areas.

Reasons you may need a NANA-FOR-HIRE:

1. Your regular babysitter cancels at the last minute.

2. You have a doctor’s appointment for you OR one of your kiddos, and you would rather not take the whole crew to the doctor’s office.

3. You have a haircut/manicure/pedicure scheduled, and you need uninterrupted time.

4. You need to run quick errands alone.

5. You need an uninterrupted lunch date with husband or a friend.

The list goes on and on and on.

Rates:

1 - 3 Kiddos - $10 First Hour; $10 Second Hour; $5 Third Hour - Total $25 for Three Hours

4 - 6 Kiddos - $10 First Hour; $10 Second Hour; $10 Third Hour - Total $30 for Three Hours

Contact information:

You can private message me on Facebook.
You can e-mail me at mfaulkner1306@charter.net.

All about me:

My name is Belinda Faulkner.
I am a Christian.
I am a 54 year-old wife of one and mother of three grown children.
I am a recent Empty Nester striving to fill my time in a useful, productive, Christ-honoring way.
I have a very old Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Development.
I love working with children. Always have, always will.

So there you have it. A new business venture at the ripe ol' age of 54.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I have a few other business endeavors I am contemplating, you know.

Four total.

I may start Business Endeavor #2 next week while Mikie is in Boston.

Did I mention Mikie was going to Boston for a business thing next week?

No?


Well, he is, and you can tell he is super excited about being away from me for a few days.

Before he returns, I hope to have my multi-million-dollar-new-business bringing in the big bucks.

Let's just say, it will be a very nice little surprise for him when he walks through the door.

And if Business Endeavor #2 falls flat on it's face, I will quickly and quietly move right on to Business Endeavor #3.

I'll give you a little hint about Business Endeavor #3.

Four words...

Nana... B... Action... Figure!

You might want to go ahead and place your order.

RANDOMNESS #2 - 54 Year-Old Woman Probs - The other day, I saw a segment on a talk show about make-up.

The make-up expert was asked, "If you had only five minutes before you had to walk out the door, what would you do with your make-up?"

I found his answer fascinating...

Especially, since my answer would have been something like, "Locate and try to put on ALL of my foundational garb in five minutes. There would be no time left over for make-up."

His response, "Do your eyebrows and your lips. That is all. Quickly work on the 'frame' of your face."

Hmmmm.

The "frame" of my face. I had never thought of it like that before.

Guess what?

This week, I needed to get out of the house in five minutes or less, AND I was fortunate enough to already have found and put on all of the necessary foundational garb. I actually had the five minutes to devote to my "face frame."

I don't have any eyebrow make-up, but because of gray hair and such, my brows are much lighter these days.

I decided to use a little of my mascara to "set the tone."

Okay, Friends.

That was a mistake.

My mascara was MUCH too dark for my eyebrows, and even when I tried to distribute it by brushing it through, I ended up with a very Groucho Marx look.

Two of my five minutes were gone, and I quickly grabbed a cotton ball, some eye make-up remover and tried to de-emphasize my above-the-eye area.

My eye make-up remover did not remove the BLACK eyebrows as much as it just spread it over a wider area all the way onto my upper forehead.

Another minute long, long gone.

If you're doing the math, I had two minutes left.

I grabbed my bar-o-soap and a rag and went to town.

When yet another minute passed, I was relieved to see the black had been replaced by bright, bright pink...

And I decided the bright, bright pink would have to do as my upper face framer.

With one minute remaining, I quickly moved to the lip area.

I rarely use a lip liner, but I always use lipstick.

In light of my upper-frame-gone-bad situation, I decided to do a really spectacular job on the lips, and I paired two of my favorite lipsticks to give me the prettiest color on my lower-face-frame.

Did I mention there was some slight swelling in the brow area, too?

Yeah.

Definite swelling.

I was looking mighty fine.

Longer story shorter...

Because I had less than one minute before walking out the door, instead of carefully applying my lipstick, I totally missed my lip with the second tube and jammed it into my mouth onto 14 of my teeth.

Just between you and me...

My face frame had looked much, much better...

On many, many other occasions.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Mike, Josh and Roxie had a grand ol' time in Arkansas last weekend, and except for the loss in FOUR OVERTIMES, the trip was a success.


How is that for a pretty SEC stadium? Love the mountains in the background.


The guy eating popcorn next to Roxie is my favorite.





Our dear friend, Jonathan Askins, lives in Arkansas, and when Mike called him to see how close they would be to him during their travels, it turned out to be not far at all.

He met my guys and took them to a local Arkansas restaurant and a good time was had by all.

Our kids had never met Jonathan, but they had heard the stories...

And meeting him in person did not disappoint!

It never does.

Pinterest Stuff

Gifts Ideas for Older Kids

Passes to Recreational Activities. Purchase passes to the local Bowling Ally, Laser Tag Venue, Rock Climbing Facility or Museum. This will not only entertain them through the cooler winter weather, but give them something to anticipate.

Camping Gear. We are huge on outdoor activities at our house. Why not get the kids a new sleeping bag and other gear they can call their own.

Outdoor Ride-On. Razor has some awesome crazy trikes, scooters and dune buggies the kids are sure to love. Give the kids a thrill with a motorized cart or scooter. Skateboards and Ripsticks are also a great gift. If you wanted to spice it up and get something a little more extravagant, either build or buy a ramp.

Gymnastics Equipment. Both boys and girls like to rough house. Get mats and pads for the kids to practice at home.

Different Dates

Find a unique restaurant at least an hour away from your home and road trip there for lunch one Saturday, just because.

Go on an impromptu gelato search in your town. Go to at least four or five locations trying gelato at each one before buying your favorite flavor at your last stop. Cut the sweetness by splitting a plate of bacon fries at a greasy diner afterward.

One Saturday, have your guy meet you at the local animal shelter and volunteer to walk a few of the dogs through the park. NOTE FROM THE ENCHANTING BELINDA - I don't know if the shelters actually let you do this, but call and check it out. It would be a lot of fun.

Book the chef's table at your favorite fancy restaurant, and watch your meal come together from scratch as the chef works his magic in the kitchen.

Halloween Party Games

Pass the Pumpkin

What you will need:

Stuffed or plastic pumpkin, medium-sized
Halloween music

This game is played similar to Hot Potato. Music is played, and then randomly turned off. The kid left holding the pumpkin is eliminated. The last one holding the pumpkin at the end is the winner. Game can be repeated until everyone wins a prize.

Candy Corn Relay

What you will need:

4 bowls or buckets
2 large spoons
Bag(s) of candy corn

Divide kids into teams and designate a starting line and a finish line. Set out a bowl full of candy corn for each team at the starting line and an empty bowl at the finish line. The players must use a large spoon to scoop candy corn out of the full bowl and then carry it to the empty bowl and fill it. They cannot spill any candy corn or use their hands! If any candy corn falls off the spoon, they must immediately pick it up and bring it back to the starting line bowl and start over with that spoonful. Once a kid successfully gets a spoonful of candy corn into the bowl, they go to the end of the line and the next person on their team goes until all the candy corn is in the finish line bowl.

Spider Web

What you will need:

White yarn ball

Perfect for a group of four to eight kids. Arrange kids in a circle and give the ball of yarn to one child. Have that child hold the end of the yarn (or tie it around their wrist) and then throw the ball of yarn across the circle to someone else. That person catches the yarn and holds on to a part of it before throwing the ball. Taking turns, each kid tosses his yarn to someone else in the circle. When they reach the end of the yarn, they’ve created a spider web!

Throw Me a Bone

What you will need:

Large piece of cardboard (at least 36 inches by 36 inches)
Black marker
Package of Scooby-Doo bone graham cracker snacks or dog bone treats (not to be eaten)

Decorate cardboard by dividing into 9 squares using a Tic-Tac-Toe pattern. In each square, write a number between 1 and 9, but not in any order. The game is played by laying the cardboard on the floor and having kids stand 6 feet back, tossing 6 bones on the board. They score points based on where the bones land in each square. Add up their total number of points, the person with the most points wins each round.

Pumpkin Relay

What you will need:

Medium sized plastic pumpkins

Divide groups into teams of 5 or 6 and line them up.

Explain the first person in each line passes the pumpkin back over his head to the next person in line who must then pass it through their legs to the next person in line. This pattern, above the head and through the legs, is repeated until the end of the line is reached. Once the pumpkin gets to the end, the child at the end runs to the front of the line and starts over again. This continues until everyone has had a turn at the front of the line and the person who was first in line becomes the last. First team to have everyone compete first through last wins.

Weekend Happenings

1. Okay. Tomorrow, as you may or may not know, is Halloween.

So all of my kids are grown now.

I'm pretty sure I have mentioned that fact in an earlier post.

Mike and I are going to Hartselle in the morning for a Halloween Pumpkin Picnic with Josh, Courtney and Judith.

We are going to decorate pumpkins with stickers, read Halloween-friendly kid books and eat chicken fingers and pumpkin snacks.

I may or may not take a pic or two.

I am so excited.

2. Saturday night, Mike and I are having a chili dinner AND we're going to do something different.

I am not a scary movie kind of person, but I told Mike to record the very first Halloween movie. (It has been on one channel or another all week long.)

We're going to watch it together tomorrow night.

Just the two of us.

In a dark house.

And if I decide it's a little too much for me...

We're going to pop in Saving Mr. Banks!

3. Early Sunday morning, Mike is leaving for Boston, and I will be holding down the fort here.

Could I BE more boring?

Have a spooktacular weekend. I'll be back next Friday with our Halloween Pumpkin Party pics and the beginning of some Thanksgiving posts.

Take care.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, October 23, 2015

Weekend Happenings, Made-from-Scratch Chicken Corn Chowder, Pinterest Stuff (Best Gifts for Kids AND Date Night Questions), Mobile Area Itinerary, Restaurant Review (Urban Pops) AND Blog Linkage

Good Friday morning!

ONE... MORE... TIME...

FUTURE BUSINESS ENDEAVORS - I am going to share this every now and again as I get NANA-FOR-HIRE up and running. I've had several calls so far, and I am looking forward to meeting (and helping) young families in the area.

Here are the details...

I will stay with your kiddos for one to three hours. (Not over three.)

I will come to your home. (No judgment about messy, lived-in homes. Been there, done that, know how it feels.)

My NANA-FOR-HIRE services are available Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

I am available for Moms in the Fultondale, Morris, Mount Olive and Gardendale areas.

Reasons you may need a NANA-FOR-HIRE:

1. Your regular babysitter cancels at the last minute.

2. You have a doctor’s appointment for you OR one of your kiddos, and you would rather not take the whole crew to the doctor’s office.

3. You have a haircut/manicure/pedicure scheduled, and you need uninterrupted time.

4. You need to run quick errands alone.

5. You need an uninterrupted lunch date with husband or a friend.

The list goes on and on and on.

Rates:

1 - 3 Kiddos - $10 First Hour; $10 Second Hour; $5 Third Hour - Total $25 for Three Hours

4 - 6 Kiddos - $10 First Hour; $10 Second Hour; $10 Third Hour - Total $30 for Three Hours

Contact information:

You can private message me on Facebook.
You can e-mail me at mfaulkner1306@charter.net.

All about me:

My name is Belinda Faulkner.
I am a Christian.
I am a 54 year-old wife of one and mother of three grown children.
I am a recent Empty Nester striving to fill my time in a useful, productive, Christ-honoring way.
I have a very old Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Development.
I love working with children. Always have, always will.

So there you have it. A new business venture for me at the ripe ol' age of 54.

I look forward to hearing from y'all.

RANDOMNESS #1 - I haven't gone to The Great Pumpkin Patch this year. I've been told it is not an age appropriate activity for just me...

All by myself.

Heavy, heavy sigh.

However, Roxie and Company went and had a grand ol' time.


Roxie is very photogenic, but not ALWAYS photogenic.


Sometimes it takes a couple of tries...


To get the perfect Pumpkin Patch pic!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Restaurant Review (Urban Pops) - Bev and I visited a little coffee/ice cream pop/pastry shop this week in the Riverchase area. (That is code for "I FOLLOWED BEVERLY AND I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO GET BACK TO THIS PLACE.")

It was all the things a really good coffee/ice cream pop/pastry shop should be, and if I'm ever fortunate enough to find it again, I will stop by and partake of all of the said goodness.


Bev enjoying a nice hot cup of joe in a comfy leather seat...


Cute oval wooden plates...


Me, The Enchanting Belinda, gulping down a hazelnut ice coffee...


And the American Flag.

I'm telling you, we need to support this place!

Cheerfully and often!

RANDOMNESS #3 - I told you I would go over our Mobile itinerary today...

And I will!

Here is the list for Thursday...

Church Street Graveyard - This is a VERY old cemetery in the middle of Mobile. I knew Mikie would like it, and that made me happy so we started off the day that way.

So cheerful!

Public Library - The library was beside the graveyard, and since it was pretty hot, we wandered through the rows and rows of books to cool off. I will tell you, if Mikie has another meeting in this area, I will curl up in a comfy leather chair and read while I wait. The Reading Room is outstanding.

Historic District - The Historic District is well-marked and beautiful. Lots of interesting things to see as you drive slowly up and down the streets.

The Lighthouse Restaurant - Our next stop (other than lunch) was Bayou La Batre which is a small shrimping town. As I mentioned last week, part of Forrest Gump was filmed there. We stopped on the way at this small nondescript restaurant and had one of the best fresh seafood meals we've ever eaten.

Nothing fancy.

Nothing pretentious.

Just really good food.

We will go back again.

Sugar Rush - We kept hearing about this doughnut shop, so when we left The Lighthouse it was just a few minutes away.

Do not get me wrong.

This shop had some very good doughnuts, and depending on the day, they have some unique offerings (strawberry shortcake, German chocolate, etc.), but I think Krispy Kreme has totally spoiled me and Mikie when it comes to trying, "the best doughnut you will ever put in your mouth" claims.

We've already had the best doughnut, and while there are other perfectly acceptable doughnuts out there...

Well, in the end, I always just feel sorry for them.

Bayou La Batre - This is a very small town with a very small bridge. Going over the very small bridge, you can see shrimp boat after shrimp boat after shrimp boat.

It is picturesque, and I love it there.

However, 15 to 30 minutes in this place is plenty.

Dauphin Island - We weren't that far from Dauphin Island, so we drove all the way to the tip of Alabama. There is a fort AND a smallish aquarium in this area, so it would be a great place to take the kids and a picnic if you've never been.

Loved it.

And now, the list for Friday afternoon...

Fairhope - Mike's meeting was over around 1:00, so we immediately drove to Fairhope.

I have never been to Fairhope.

I am so glad that mistake has been corrected.

This is one of the prettiest little towns I have ever visited.

Mike and I walked up and down the streets...

And then we drove up and down the streets...

And we found a VRBO cottage in the middle of the town where we plan to stay "next time."

I LOVE Fairhope.

Fairhope Pier - The pier is very long and there is a pretty big restaurant called Shux overlooking the water.

We weren't there during a meal time, but next time, we will be dining at Shux.

Grand Hotel - Before heading home, we drove to The Grand Hotel on Point Clear.

Absolutely gorgeous.

We walked around the grounds for about 30 minutes and decided it was a place we wanted to stay one day.

One day soon.

Like next month.

The following is a list of the things we wanted to see and/or do, but we just ran out of time:

Carnival Museum
Fort Conde
Delta Safari Cruise
Gulf Quest National Maritime Museum
Felix's Fish Camp
The Boiling Pot

And we would also like to stay in the Malaga Inn in the Historic District of Mobile one day.

That will be after we stay in the cottage in Fairhope...

And at The Grand Hotel.

So much to do...

So little time!

Blog Linkage - Please click on Nesting Place (see sidebar) and read The Nester's post entitled, "The Secret to a Charming Grocery Store Centerpiece." So pretty...

And she makes it look so easy.

Pinterest Stuff

Best Gifts for Kids

1. Punch Latex Balloons - No matter how expensive the other gifts my kids have received, they’ve never failed to enjoy punch balloons. Make sure you have extras for the popping that invariably occurs!

2. Blink Card Game - This game of perceptual speed is just as much fun for adults.

3. Sleeping Queens Card Game - I’m not sure what it is about this game, but it’s what they pull out time after time to play with friends and even older siblings.

4. Experiences - My children have treasured the opportunity to see a play with a grandparent, go to lunch with an aunt or go to the driving range with Dad.

5. Fisher Price GeoTrax Train Set - We’ve had a lot of train sets over the years, but for the money, this is my favorite. Very durable and EASY for kids to put together themselves.

6. Fisher Price Imaginext Eagle Talon Castle - While this isn’t the same model we bought years ago, it appears to have the same features that had dozens of kids playing with it for hours. I still have this play set and will probably keep it for my grandchildren.

7. Marble Run - These things are so fun for kids to put together. You may want them to play on a blanket so you don’t miss any of the marbles!

8. Domino Race - Yes, the excitement of knocking down your dominoes lasts just a moment, but the great thing is that setting up the race can take them hours!

9. Jenga - Jenga was in a condo we rented for a few days and the kids played with it constantly. They continue to play Jenga frequently now that we own it.

10. Nerf Guns - I’ve come a long way from a mother who wasn’t going to let her sons play with toy guns to a mom whose boys have an entire arsenal of them. My teenagers will still play with these, and when it’s time to declutter toys, these never go into the giveaway box.

11. Hop Ball - I’ve kept two of these in my basement for years and they are used, even when I don’t want them to be! There’s just something irresistible about them.

12. Step 2 Roller Coaster - I wondered if I was wasting my money buying this toddler toy. I couldn’t have been more wrong. We kept this outside and it was played with by our kids until they were in late elementary school. It was a very popular attraction with guests and it stood up to tons of abuse.

13. Epson MovieMate - We bought a previous version of this movie projector and have gotten years’ worth of use out of it. We enjoy watching movies together outside using our garage door as a screen, projecting family video games on our basement wall so even Grandma can play, and projecting workout DVDs so we can all get fit together.

Date Night Questions

1. If you had a yacht and you had to name it after me, what would you name it?

2. What's your favorite place we've visited?

3. Who are the heroes or people you admire?

4. Are there any predictable things about me you really like?

5. What's the best marriage you've ever seen modeled? What made it so great?

6. What outrages you most about the world?

7. What things do I do for you that refresh you the most?

8. What is one thing God has taught you this week?

9. How are we different?

10. What is one aspect of your parents’ relationship you want to replicate in our marriage?

11. What's one movie you want to see?

12. What do I do that makes you feel most loved?

13. If you won the lottery, what would you do?

14. Name your least favorite household chore.

15. What's your biggest regret in life?

16. How have I succeeded this week in our relationship? How can I improve?

Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder

This is the SECOND Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder recipe I've tried AND posted. Both are delicious, so just pick one!

You will need the following:

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded (3 cups)
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup butter, diced into 1 tablespoon pieces
1 large red bell pepper, diced (1 1/2 cups)
1 medium yellow onion, diced (1 1/4 cups)
1 to 2 jalapenos, seeded for less heat if desired, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced slightly less than 1/2-inch thick (3 cups)
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 1/2 cups half and half

1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add red bell pepper, onions, jalapenos and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer. Stir in flour, and cook 2 minutes stirring constantly.

2. While stirring, slowly add in chicken broth and whisk until well blended.

3. Add potatoes, bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a boil stirring frequently, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, 10 minutes or just until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

4. Add in cooked chicken, corn and half and half and simmer, uncovered 10 to 15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Serve warm topped bacon, green onions and optional jalapeno peppers.

Weekend Happenings

There are some very exciting things happening this weekend.

1. Roxie, Josh and Mike are headed to Arkansas as I type this for the Auburn v. Arkansas game Saturday.

As I've told you on numerous occasions, Mike and Josh are visiting a different SEC Stadium every year. I think they have four more to go. Anyway, this year they are going to Arkansas and since they had an extra ticket, they invited Roxie...

Which is unprecedented...

Because...

Well, she's a Chick.

But they are all excited, and I've baked cookies and packed some other goodies to enhance their SEC Stadium Visiting Experience.


It is always easy to take a hand-holdin' pic when everyone is actually happy.


It is never easy to get everyone on board with a jumping picture...

EVER.

2. Lest you are afraid Austin and Melia are feeling left out, I want to put your mind at ease.

Believe it or not, they are celebrating their one-year anniversary this weekend.

I am still in shock, because no way has an entire 365 days passed since they said, "I do," in front of family and friends.

No way.



3. Now I know you are probably worrying about little ol' me.

I will be fine.

I promise.

I went to the library today and picked up a new book to read.

On Saturday, I am meeting a very dear friend for breakfast. The last time I saw her face-to-face was at Austin and Melia's wedding a year ago. (I am really looking forward to that meeting.)

After our breakfast, I am heading over to Grandmother's to spend some autumnal time with her. We may or may not go for a nice Fall drive. It depends on our collective moods.

4. Sunday Mike, Josh and Roxie will be heading home, so after church, I will be doing things around the house counting down the minutes until my guys come home.

Of course, Josh will almost immediately head back to Hartselle, and Roxie will almost immediately head back to Auburn.

Mike will almost immediately head to his chair.

Thank goodness for that chair! There's no telling where he would be "heading" if it wasn't in our den!

And that, my Friends, is the plan for this upcoming beautiful Fall weekend.

Have a tremendous weekend with you and yours. I'll be back next Friday with Auburn v. Arkansas pics (I hope) and all of our Halloween plans!

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. There is an awful, old, falling down type building a short drive from our house, and I have always, always wanted to get a picture of Roxie in front of it before it is completely and totally gone.

She didn't want to, but I whined and begged and bribed her after church this past Sunday and I got a few shots.

This is unfiltered, but I think it is really going to be pretty after I play with it a little.


I'll show you all of them after I fix them up next week. Promise.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Weekend Happenings, Future Endeavors AND Grieving Cowboy Casserole

Good Friday morning!

FUTURE BUSINESS ENDEAVORS - I am going to share this every now and again as I get NANA-FOR-HIRE up and running. I've had several calls so far, and I am looking forward to meeting (and helping) some young families in the area.

Here are the details...

I have been wanting to do something useful with my time as a recent Empty Nester. Giving Mikie 115% of my attention isn't working out the way either of us thought.

He's pretty self-sufficient for a 54 year-old guy, and doesn't need as much nurturing as I am used to giving growing, living humans in my charge.

In other words...

I may or may not be getting on his nerves just a wee bit with my ever-so-constant, "Do you need anything? Coffee? Foot rub? Me to STOP asking if you need anything every five minutes or so?"

Of course, if you ask Mikie, his account of the last two months of Empty Nesting might be slightly different.

"When do I start getting 115% of the attention around here?"

It is just mentally exhausting, I tell you.

Heavy, heavy sigh.

Recently, I came up with a new plan...

And it is called NANA-FOR-HIRE!

The details for NANA-FOR-HIRE are as follows:

I will stay with your kiddos for one to three hours. (Not over three.)

I will come to your home. (No judgment about messy, lived-in homes. Been there, done that, know how it feels.)

My NANA-FOR-HIRE services are available Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

I am available for Moms in the Fultondale, Morris, Mount Olive and Gardendale areas.

Reasons you may need a NANA-FOR-HIRE:

1. Your regular babysitter cancels at the last minute.

2. You have a doctor’s appointment for you OR one of your kiddos, and you would rather not take the whole crew to the doctor’s office.

3. You have a haircut/manicure/pedicure scheduled, and you need uninterrupted time.

4. You need to run quick errands alone.

5. You need an uninterrupted lunch date with husband or a friend.

The list goes on and on and on.

Rates:

1 - 3 Kiddos - $10 First Hour; $10 Second Hour; $5 Third Hour - Total $25 for Three Hours
4 - 6 Kiddos - $10 First Hour; $10 Second Hour; $10 Third Hour - Total $30 for Three Hours

Contact information:

You can private message me on Facebook.
You can e-mail me at mfaulkner1306@charter.net.

All about me:

My name is Belinda Faulkner.
I am a Christian.
I am a 54 year-old wife of one and mother of three grown children.
I am a recent Empty Nester striving to fill my time in a useful, productive, Christ-honoring way.
I have a very old Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Development.
I love working with children. Always have, always will.

So there you have it. A new business venture for me at the ripe ol' age of 54.

I shared this with a group of young Moms a week or so ago, and received a very favorable response, so I decided to share here, too.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Josh's actual birthday actually fell on a Sunday this year. A Sunday he was scheduled to work.

Heavy, heavy sigh.

Mike and I drove to Hartselle to deliver good wishes and gifts before he went to work.

We had his family party exactly one week later, and it was good, too.


Josh loves The Walking Dead, but I couldn't make myself decorate with Zombie parts.


Thus, I stuck with the colors black and red...

And pound cake.

Everyone knows Zombies love pound cake.


Roxie and Josh.


Josh and his now traditional Birthday Banana Pudding.


Roxie and Katie.


Courtney and Josh.

Zac and Mallie.


Josh and Grandmother.


Grandpa, Grandma and Josh.


Josh and Courtney (again).


Uncle Tommy, Zac, Mallie, Josh, Aunt Bev and Katie.


Melia, Josh and Austin.


Don't ask. I have no idea!


Just Judith...


And a bunch of other people.







Just Roxie and Hunter.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Mike had a short business trip last week in Spanish Fort, Alabama...

And I went along just for the fun of it.

It has been a VERY long time since I visited the Mobile area, and Mike and I have never gone there together for any period of time, so we went down Wednesday night and played ALL DAY Thursday and Friday afternoon (after his meetings).

All I can say...

It will not be a VERY long time before we visit again.


We started our Thursday morning with a trip to Church Street Graveyard.

Graveyard.

Not Cemetery.

Can you see the Mardi Gras beads hanging on the entrance sign?


When you have a plaque reader in your family, an old cemetery is like the MOST fun place ever.

Everyone knows headstones at a historic graveyard are like the Original Plaques.

Mike was in his happy place.


Most of the graves in this graveyard were for Confederate soldiers AND yellow fever victims who passed away in the 1800s.




This was the grave of an Irishman who died in 1845.

Can I just say, this man was way ahead of his time.

And can I just say one more thing?

I very much want an exclamation point on my headstone.

The Enchanting Belinda!


Later in the day, we visited Bayou La Batre which is where part of Forrest Gump was filmed.




This is Mikie doing his Forrest Gump impersonation.


He's pretty good, don't you think?


After a little time of gazing upon the shrimp boats, we hopped back in The Big Gold Van and headed to Dauphin Island.


Don't misunderstand. I took a thousand pics of Dauphin Island, but the thing that truly amazed me...

The monarch butterflies.

They were everywhere.

It was monarch butterflies AND ocean.

Truly, truly amazing.


On Friday afternoon, we headed to Fairhope, Alabama.

It is one of the most beautiful towns I have ever visited.


Oh...

This is the obligatory "The Enchanting Belinda indeed went on the trip" pic.

I have to take one of those every now and again.


After much time spent in Fairhope, Mike and I drove a little ways to The Grand Hotel at Point Clear.

I thought I had seen butterflies at Dauphin Island.

There were twice as many at The Grand.


A man stopped and talked to us about them, and told us they were heading to Mexico where they will vacation during the winter months.

I kinda wish I was a monarch butterfly.


Everyday at 4:00 at The Grand, a man re-enacts the firing of the canon.

It takes about 30 minutes.

It is very complicated.

He is like a walking/talking plaque.

Mike loved him...

And I wasn't totally bored.

Next Friday, I'll share the itinerary because we had a really good time, ate at some very nice, very local restaurants, and I have already planned the next trip.

Grieving Cowboy Casserole

I found this recipe on Pinterest yesterday and tried it last night. It wasn't written like a regular recipe, so I am going to pass it on just as I read it...

My granny called it “Grieving Casserole” because she always brought it to people when a family member passed on.

1. Brown a pound of ground beef with diced onions, cumin and salt and pepper to taste.

2. After you have browned the beef, drain it and put it into a bowl. Mix in a can of cream of mushroom soup and half a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes. You can buy any kind of Ro-Tel you like, but I prefer chunky.

3. Layer a lightly-greased loaf pan with crushed up corn tortilla chips until it covers the bottom of the pan. Then, dump half of the meat mixture on top with some shredded cheddar cheese on top of that.

4. Repeat and now you have two layers of each!

5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is warm and bubbly.

6. Top this dish with anything your little heart desires such as shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, more cheese, green onions, etc.

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - This is a perfect dish for two Empty Nesters with just a little bit leftover for lunch the next day.

Weekend Happenings

1. The Chick is home for a long weekend, but her plans and our plans don't coincide too often Saturday and Sunday. (I'm not complaining. We were able to spend ALL DAY FRIDAY together, and I am pretty content right about now.)

2. While Roxie is playing with friends, Mike and I are going on a breakfast date. At some point during the day on Saturday I want to visit Merry Market at our local Community Center. It is a wonderful way to pass two or three hours and actually get some Christmas shopping checked off the list.

3. Sunday we will attend church, have Sunday dinner and stick around the house until Roxie has to leave headed back to school.

I am hoping a nap will also be taken sometime on Sunday afternoon...

But I will NOT hold my breath.

Have a fun Fall weekend, and I will be back next Friday!

Take care.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda
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