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.


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

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...


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...


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!


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.

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