Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Keeping RT, Park Hopping with Judith, Roxie and Mikie's Annual Steak Date, Botanical Gardens Fun, Quotable Quotes AND Irondale Cafe's Cornbread Recipe

Good Wednesday evening!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Last week, I was able to keep RT several times, and can I just say...

He is one cute little guy.

He and Uncle Josh bonded over one of his MOST favorite things...

His bottle.

It's a little blurry, but this may become his "signature" look.

Crooked smile and an almost wink...

Lady killer!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Roxie and Mike go on a Steak Date every year around this time. They both shower, dress up and smell really good, and then they pick a pretty restaurant and spend some much needed alone time together.

This year, Mikie went to her, and they dined in Auburn.

They make a very cute couple, don't they?

RANDOMNESS #3 - I picked Judith up Thursday afternoon, and she spent the night with us. As is our tradition now, we get a bath and we play with animals OR plastic eggs OR cups OR all of the aforementioned in the tub, we eat dinner together, we read, read, read, then Pop and Judith watch an episode of the Uh-Oh Show (America's Funniest Home Videos) before she falls asleep on his shoulder, and we put her to bed.

The next day, Pop went to work and Judith and I headed to one of our favorite local parks.

The mood swings of a two year-old girl are super speedy quick...

As you can tell in these three pictures.

In approximately 42 seconds, she went from ecstatic to the depths of despair.

It's a gift, I tell you.

As far as Judith is concerned, this is a real hippo. She is a tiny person with HUGE courage because at no time did she ever, ever think the hippo was plastic.


That's why she kept muttering, "Whoa, Hippo! Whoa!"

And then she was happy again...

And then not so much.

But beautiful.

Always beautiful.

RANDOMNESS #4 - Since Melia had Spring Break this week, we thought about going on an outing to the Zoo again...

But since we had Spring Break this week, so did 1,432,010 other people...

So we decided to walk around the Botanical Gardens (directly across the street from the Zoo), which had far less crowds and a lot more room for walking, swinging and gift shop browsing.

From now on, RT and I are going to rock matching hats.

Back in the day, I knew I was a "hat" person, but just between you and me...

I look even better in a hat now than ever before.

I'm like old cheese, I tell you.


That doesn't sound right.

Here's a picture of what young cheese looks like!

Quotable Quotes

"Prayer is the bridge between panic and peace." Anonymous

As a person who panics a great deal each and every day, this quote calms me.

Irondale Cafe's Cornbread

You will need the following:

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 teaspoons melted butter
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups fat free cultured buttermilk
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups self- rising white cornmeal
1 1/2 cups self-rising White Lily flour

1. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Let batter rest under refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. (NOTE - That's right. UNDER the refrigerator. This is obviously a very old recipe. While the oven preheated, I set the bowl of ingredients on the back eye of the oven for an hour, and that seemed to work just fine.)

2. Pour batter into a well-buttered 9" x 13" sheet pan.

3. Bake at 375 degrees. Check after 17 minutes. Bread is done when a knife inserted into center comes out clean.

4. Brush top liberally with melted butter.

5. Cut into 3" squares.

Enjoy the rest of your Spring Break Week. I'll be back soon to talk about Easter-type things and so much more.


The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Pics of Judith and Pop AND Shamrock Minty Brownie Bites

Good Thursday afternoon!

RANDOMNESS - Mikie had a little work done on one of his knees this week, and Judith came by to "make him feel better" for a little while yesterday.

I think it might have worked.

Shamrock Minty Brownie Bites

You will need the following:

Box fudge brownie mix
8 ounce cream cheese (softened)
1/4 cup butter (softened)
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
4 drops green food coloring
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven as box directs; spray mini cupcake pans with vegetable spray.

2. Prepare brownie mix according to directions and place mixture in pans (about 1/2 way up).

3. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven. Let sit 5 minutes, then remove from pan (use a small metal spatula to run around the edges before removing).

4. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, extract and food coloring.  Mix until creamy, then gradually add in the powdered sugar.

5. Place frosting in a pastry bag with a swirl tip.

6. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring heavy cream to a boil. Immediately remove and add in chocolate chips. Stir until melted.

7. Dip tops of brownie bites into ganache and set on a wire rack. Let set up for 5 minutes.

8. Pipe frosting on top.

9. Decorate with sprinkles.

10. Store in refrigerator.

NOTE:  You may think the bites are a bit dry when they come out of the oven, but as they sit in the refrigerator, they soften up and will be just right!

Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day tomorrow. I'll be back soon, and we'll be talking Easter AND Spring!


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. This guy is stopping by to "make Pop feel better" tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Zoo Trip with Grand-Tots, Homemade Shamrock Shake, St. Patrick's Day Floats, Pinterest Stuff (Gift Baskets AND Hop on Pop Game)

Good Tuesday evening!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Melia and I had the opportunity to go to the Zoo last Friday with RT and Judith. It was a beautiful day, and I was a very happy Nana B!

RT was stylin' with the sunglasses.

This is exactly how the rest of the day at the Zoo looked...

Baby Boy sleeping peacefully...

And Semi-Baby Girl eating cookies in front of all of the hungry animals.

I know Judith doesn't look like she's having a really great time, but keep in mind, the ostriches were freaking her out...

And I look really slim and svelte in this pic, so smiling or not, I had to use it.

RT woke up minutes after we put him in his car seat to head home.

I kid you not.

RANDOMNESS #2 - While we spent an enjoyable day at the Zoo, the rest of the Faulkners decided to go to three different states!

Roxie and friends went to New York City for Spring Break...

Auburn Chicks in Central Park!

Roxie went to Live with Kelly this morning, and Elizabeth Banks was a guest.

I love her shoes.

And did you hear anything about a blizzard up north?


Roxie and friends are at Broadway as I type this...

Because what's a little blizzard in a city that doesn't completely shut down when 1/2 inch of snow falls...

And doesn't stick...

To anything.

Josh and Courtney took a weekend trip to Oxford, Mississippi to celebrate their very first wedding anniversary...

And Austin and Mikie went to Memphis to watch a Grizzlies game...

There are pictures, but I have to get Austin to send them to me, and he is busy right now with a work thing.

I am so low on the totem pole it isn't even funny.

I will add them to the post when I receive them!

I know what you're thinking.

I definitely had the most fun.

Homemade Shamrock Shake

You will need the following:

1 cup milk
2 cups vanilla ice cream
Green food coloring
Mint extract
Whipped cream
AirHeads Rainbow Candy (optional)

1. Place milk, ice cream, 5 to 7 drops food coloring and 1/2 teaspoon mint extract into a blender.

2. Mix until you have your desired consistency.

3. Pour contents into glasses and top with whipped cream and a rainbow candy or two!

St Patrick's Day Floats

You will need the following:

Lime sherbet

1. In a drinking cup (I recommend a clear glass), add 2 to 3 scoops of lime sherbet (feel free to adjust according to the size of your cup and your personal preference).

2. Pour Sprite slowly over the sherbet in your glass. Be careful. It will foam up and rise, so don't pour too quickly.

3. Serve immediately with straws and spoons.

Pinterest Stuff

Gift Basket Ideas

Cupcake Basket

You will need the following items:

Cake Mix
Patterned Cupcake Liners
Gel Food Color Set
Decorating Tip Set
Hello, Cupcake! Book
Recipes for cupcake mixes or frosting
Oven Mitts
Cake Embellishments

NOTE - I think this would be a great birthday gift for a little girl (age 5 to 10).

Coffee Basket

Ground Coffee
Gingerbread Biscotti
Chocolate Rolled Wafers
MORE Coffee
Flavored Coffee Syrup
Coffee Mug
Travel Mug
Starbucks or Joe Muggs Gift Certificates

Hop on Pop Game

If you are planning some fun Dr. Seuss festivities, you will want to give this Hop on Pop Balloon Game a try. Children will love getting the chance to pop balloons by hopping on them, just like the characters did in the Dr. Seuss story, Hop on Pop. Take a look below at how easy it is to create this game for your kids, as is it sure to become a favorite.

You will need the following:

Radio or CD player

1. Begin by blowing up balloons. You will want a generous amount, so the more the merrier.

2. Write a number on each balloon starting with one and working your way up. Allow the balloons some time to dry so the ink does not smear and get all over the floor.

3. Place all of the balloons on the floor.

4. To play, each child picks a number (or can line up) and waits for their turn to hop on the balloon to pop it. The trick is the balloons must be popped in order. As the game continues, they will get all shuffled up, so finding the specific balloon will become a challenge!

5. Turn on the music and let the kids go to town! They should try to pop the balloon by hopping on it only. NO HANDS ALLOWED!

Kids will have a ball trying to hop on the balloons to pop them. Encourage them to work as a team and cheer for each other as they try to find the balloon that is next. They are sure to want to play this game over and over!

Have a great week! I'll be talking to you very soon!


The Enchanting Belinda

Saturday, March 4, 2017

My New Favorite Thing, Cherry Tomato Salad, Just Keep Smiling Foundation, MamMa's 96th Birthday AND Austin's 26th Birthday

Good Saturday evening!

RANDOMNESS #1 - I have a new favorite thing, and I wanted to share it with you.

I LOVE the pimento cheese sandwich on toasted wheat bread at The Three-Eared Rabbit in Trussville.

Before I give you the reasons, please know I consider myself to be a pimento cheese expert of sorts having eaten it in as many restaurants as possible in my 55 years on this here ol' Earth.


Now that my credentials have been presented, here are my reasons:

1. They toast the bread to perfection. Crunchy, but not crumbly. Some would say "golden perfection," but I want to keep everything in perspective.

It is JUST a pimento cheese sandwich, after all.

2. It is served with a dill pickle. Not necessary, but always a pleasant addition.

I count it as a super vegetable!

3. They also serve it with a side of raspberry pepper jelly.

That's right.

R-A-S-P-B-E-R-R-Y pepper jelly.

I was skeptical at first, but can I just say...

"Yea! Raspberry Pepper Jelly!"

I just smeared it on a small portion and bit into the sandwich, and I was sold.

I am now carrying a jar of raspberry pepper jelly in my purse everywhere I go in the event I run into a lone toasted pimento cheese sandwich.

That is all.

RANDOMNESS #2 - The Just Keep Smiling Foundation is a "non profit organization that seeks to assist families with critically ill children. They strive to do so by providing financial aid for immediate needs, offering emotional support based on personal knowledge of a child's serious illness or death and sharing spiritual insight that conveys the solace, grace and strength found in God."

Each year, the JKS Foundation has a show called "Live with the Characters." I took Courtney and Judith this year, and it was fantastic.

I will never miss another show.

It was like Disney, Marvel, Nickelodean, etc. all came to Gardendale to entertain.

It was a singing/dance party vibe, I tell you.

And the kids liked it, too.

Here are some pics of JUST A FEW of the characters that showed up and showed out a couple of Saturdays ago.

Simon of Chipmunk fame.

ALL of the Disney princesses were there, but I'm only including Cinderella...

AND Aurora in this post. (I think Aurora gets left out sometimes. Makes me sad.)

Judith's favorite character of all time, Miss Minnie Mouse!

I love the Genie...

And I miss Robin Williams.

Heavy sigh.

Eventually, even the little, little ones get up and start dancing and clapping in the aisles...

And Judith was no exception.

Toward the end of the 45-minute show, Judith stood up in her Mama's lap and asked for MORE!

After the show, we stood in different lines to Meet and Greet our favorite characters.

Two seconds in the line, and Judith was the perfect "waiter."

Four seconds in the line, she was still all smiles.

Ten seconds in the line...

Well, I'm not going to show that pic again.

This is what happens when you walk past Pluto and his tongue is showing.

It isn't so much about disrespect as being an expert on naming body parts.

Toddler props.

And what do you do when your Dad is a Batman fan, and you just happen to see him standing in front of the church in all of his Cape Crusader Glory?

You walk within 20 feet of him and smile.

And he smiles back!

If Beast looks a little dejected, it is because he was asked (firmly) by Judith to stand down!

I almost felt sorry for him.

Eyes a little droopy...

Coat on...

Asleep in the car before they pulled out of the parking lot.

I call that a very successful outing!

RANDOMNESS #3 - Later that same afternoon, we had a drop-in birthday party for MamMa. She turned 96!

This was a flower arrangement sent to MamMa from a friend. Looks good enough to eat!

MamMa is a happy camper when a great-grand is around.

Zac was the "baby" of the family until Judith, Sawyer and RT came along.

I think he's secretly okay with not being the "baby" any longer.

Our entertainment for the afternoon!

RANDOMNESS #4 - Austin turned 26 earlier in the week, and we celebrated him with a dessert bar at his house last Sunday.

This little guy got all dressed up for his Daddy's big day.

Judith did a good job cleaning up after the party.

Personally, I cannot wait until Miss Judith has mastered the Big Girl Vacuum Cleaner.

She'll have a lot of fun at Nana B's house when that happens!

Judith loves doing this with her Mama.

It makes Nana B a little nervous...

But most "fun" things make Nana B a little nervous.

I love a man in a plaid button down.

The Faulkner Men!

This was supposed to be a sweet Nana B and Pop pic with both grandchildren, but the guys kind of photobombed us making a Roxie sandwich.

It wasn't a fun game when she was five, and it isn't a fun game now.

Aunt Courtney and Aunt Roxie!

Cherry Tomato Salad

You will need the following:

4 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar

1. In a small bowl or cup measure, mix together oil, apple cider vinegar, herbs, salt and sugar.

2. Pour dressing over cherry tomatoes in a serving dish, and gently stir to coat. Chill for at least 2 hours. Gently stir from bottom to top, coating all tomatoes, before serving.

NOTE - I am NOT a fan of the tomato, but I actually liked this salad. I sprinkled a little Parmesan cheese on it before serving, and it was very good.

Have a great rest of the weekend. I'll be back soon with some March "fun" stuff.


The Enchanting Belinda
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