Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Randomness Galore, Memorial Day, One Pan Crispy Parmesan Chicken AND Pineapple, Banana, Coconut Smoothie Recipes

Good Wednesday afternoon!

RANDOMNESS #1 - To start with, just let me say as of the time of this posting, The Chick has been gone for approximately 144 hours...

And 22 minutes.

She is still at a summer camp in North Carolina...

Many, many miles from home.

Just a little reminder of what she looked like this past September...

This past November...

And this past April.

She is having a wonderful time training this week, and is expecting her first campers this coming weekend. She went to this particular camp knowing NO ONE, but is already making some sweet friends.

I don't think I could step out of my comfort zone and commit to stay nine weeks at a place I had never seen before, working with people I had never met.

I've said it once or twice before, but I think the hospital may have made a mistake those 20 years ago.

A good mistake, but a mistake nonetheless.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Are you ready for another ZOO TRIP?

I'm going to assume the answer to that question was a big, fat "YES."

This trip I took Courtney and Judith. Judith hadn't ridden the Carousel yet, so she and Courtney enjoyed that "first" at the Zoo.

Fun fact for you... Last time we checked (this past Christmas season), Judith did not like the "up and down" animals on the carousel at The Galleria, and we didn't risk it on this trip.

Judith has a very long attention span when it comes to looking at animals...

Any animals...

It absolutely doesn't matter which animal because she could look at it all day long.

The Choo-Choo Train is absolutely, positively her MOST favorite thing. Loves it.

When we stopped long enough to eat lunch, I was able to get her to wink for me.

That is why there are crumbs and crumbles on her face, but I was hoping you wouldn't notice because of the wink.

I think it is amazing she can wink with one eye.

I'm already looking into scholarships.

And the number one indicator you had a really good day at The Birmingham Zoo...


She was OUT!

RANDOMNESS #3 - Memorial Day - Mike works nonstop the month of May. It is, and has always been, a very busy time at his workplace.

That being said, we have never celebrated or done anything special on Memorial Day.



So when Mike called me about 2:00 Monday afternoon and said, "Let's get some Full Moon barbecue, and call the kids to see if they can come eat with us," I was skeptical.

I plan things weeks...


Years in advance, so the very thought that a spur-of-the-moment call the actual day of a dinner would have a positive outcome eluded me.

I could not even imagine.

Thirty minutes later, he called back and said, "Okay. It's a go. Call in the food, and I will pick it up on the way home at 5:30."

Oh... my... goodness!

We ate barbecue, baked beans and mac and cheese. Our dessert was a Full Moon chocolate-dipped chocolate chip cookie each. (And yes, I know there are two "chocolates" very close together in that last sentence.)

Also, because the evening was young AND cool, we put the babies in strollers and walked around the neighborhood.

It was lovely, I tell you.

Simply lovely.

Courtney took this pic, and while it looks like Mike was on his phone and not enjoying the moment, he was actually facetiming with The Chick in North Carolina.

Technically, the whole family took a walk together on Memorial Day!

One Pan Crispy Parmesan Chicken

You will need the following:

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast divided into 4 cutlets
2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and mist a 9" x 13" baking dish with cooking spray.

2. In a shallow dish, mix breadcrumbs with parmesan cheese, garlic powder, parsley, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.

3. Melt butter and brush over each side of chicken cutlet. Then dip into the breadcrumb mixture. Coat both sides of chicken evenly. Place into baking dish. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken.

4. In a large bowl, toss the chopped vegetables with the olive oil. Then add some salt and pepper, and the remaining breadcrumb mixture. Toss to coat all vegetables evenly. Add them into the pan around the chicken.

5. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until chicken is cooked throughout and vegetables are tender.

Excellent meal, Guys. Mike wants it again soon.

Pineapple, Banana, Coconut Smoothie

You will need the following:

2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
1 large banana, cut into chunks
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Serve immediately.

Austin gave this smoothie his seal of approval. Pretty healthy.

Okay. That does it for the month of May. I'll be back soon with some Summer stuff and a little true story I've been working on these past few weeks.

Take care.


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. I wanted to end with some verses I read earlier this week.

"Make sure no one pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold onto the good. Avoid every kind of evil." 1 Thessalonians 5:15-22

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tuesdays with Judith, Visiting with RT, Mother's Day, Tuesdays with Judith (AGAIN), Blog Linkage, Pinterest Stuff (Godly Things vs. Earthly Things Object Lesson) AND One Pan Mexican Quinoa

Good Tuesday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Tuesdays with Judith - On this particular Tuesday (two weeks ago), nothing HUGE happened. We just happened to look cute in our purple romper...

And we climbed a tree...

With a little help from Aunt Ro.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Visiting with RT - The little man heard Aunt Ro was home, and he came over to say, "Howdy!"

RANDOMNESS #3 - Mother's Day - This particular Mother's Day was special because RT was dedicated at church Sunday morning. Even if I wasn't his Nana B, I would have to emphasize how well he behaved during Pastor Kevin's talk and prayer.

It was pretty amazing, I tell you.

Aunt Bev, Uncle Tommy and Zac came to the Dedication to show their support, and Bev and Zac borrowed our church's Mother's Day backdrop.

After lunch with RT and The Gang, we headed to Oxford to visit with Mrs. Faulkner.

You cannot tell from this pic, but Mikie's t-shirt has a huge crawfish on the front.

It messed with the entire integrity and ambiance of the photograph, and in the end, I just had to get rid of it.

RANDOMNESS #4 - Tuesdays with Judith - This past Tuesday, I decided to take Aunt Ro and Judith to the Zoo.

I wanted Judith to try out the Splash Pad AND I wanted to find out what all the signs around the Zoo announcing "Pirates - Coming May 2017" meant. I was hoping there would be Jack Sparrow-types walking around with real parrots on their shoulders, but it was much more simple than that.

It was the train!

There were animatronic pirates all along the train route, and while we rode past the pirates, the train engineer told corny pirate jokes over the loudspeaker.

Q: What has 8 legs, 8 arms and 8 eyes?
A: 8 pirates.

Q: What do ye call a pirate with two eyes and two legs?
A: A rookie.

Q: What did the ocean say to the pirate?
A: Nothing, it just waved.

You get the idea.

No "live" pirates walking around with "live" parrots on their shoulders, but animatronics AND jokes?

I loved it!

Blog Linkage - I found this little gem on Pinterest, and I liked what I saw. Lots and lots of things to do with your little ones while teaching them all about Jesus. Go to www.meaningfulmama.com and look around when you get a minute.

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

You will need the following:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

2. Add garlic and jalapeno, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Stir in quinoa, vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

5. Stir in avocado, lime juice and cilantro.

6. Serve immediately.

This was really, really good, and the only thing I changed...

I added one pound of ground chuck (browned).

I served it like a taco salad, and Mike said he would eat it again and again.


Pinterest Stuff

Godly Things vs. Earthly Things Object Lesson

Read Philippians 3:1-11 together. (Highlight verses 7-10.)

Talk about how Paul considered everything rubbish compared to knowing Christ! (You can even talk about how rubbish was garbage/trash/dung/absolutely disgusting/worthless.)

Have some balloons (or balls) and a container/bucket of bubbles ready. I adapted this activity from Bubbles, Balloons, and Chocolate by Kirk Weaver. After doing the activity, I think balls might be more effective than balloons. (They don’t easily pop, and, if large enough, are not a choking hazard. We had fun with the balloons, too.)

Work together to make a list of different things you have done today on labels or masking tape. (Some of ours included riding bikes, reading the Bible, praying, playing games, blowing up balloons, sinning, trusting Jesus, arguing, swinging, having faith, being sick, etc.)

Talk about each activity listed.

If it is something that helps you to know Christ better (things of eternal value), stick it on a balloon.

If it is something that does not help you to know Christ better (earthly value), stick it onto the container of bubbles.

Ultimately, most things CAN help you know Christ. For example, sinning helps us know Christ when we realize His sacrifice for our sins.

Likewise, most things can hinder us from knowing Christ as well. For example, we can have the whole Bible memorized and still not know Christ.

You will want to choose the category the activity would NORMALLY fall into without analyzing them too much.

Play the game!

Label one child/group “heaven” and one child/group “earth.”

Have them stand facing each other, with a gap in between.

“Earth” tries to get the balloons and bubbles to “heaven.”

In the end, only the balloons reach “heaven” because all the bubbles pop.

Unfortunately some of our balloons popped, which is why I recommend balls.

Read Matthew 6:19-21. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Pray. “Thank you, God. You want us to know You more. Help us to store up treasures in heaven."

Have a fantastic week. I'll be back in a day or so with the last of the May "stuff."


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Here's one more pic of Mikie and Roxie from the other night. It was a good one.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Tootsie AND 2017 MotherWalk Pics

Good Friday evening.

Tomorrow my family will walk in the MotherWalk for Ovarian Cancer Awareness in Homewood. This will be the seventh time in as many years we have walked, and the first time we have walked without my Mom.

As long as I continue to blog, I will post the following every year around Mother's Day to help raise awareness of the disease and in memory of Tootsie.

NOTE - NOTE - NOTE - I am adding this year's MotherWalk Pics to yesterday's blog post...

Just because!

This year's runners, Josh and Roxie.

Judith's new do.

With three babies in the mix, there is a greater chance of getting some baby lovin' throughout the day.

Courtney and Sweet Sawyer.

First Place in the 55 year-old age division... Cutest Fun Walker/Runner.

First Place in the four month old age division... Cutest Fun Stroller/Walker/Runner.

Third Place in his age division!

First place in her age division!

The main difference between the four month old and the nine month old...

Ready to stroll.

Gonna stroll...

Wants to run!

Team Tootsie continues!

We were 20 strong this year (counting Miss Katherine who was not pictured and Mom's chemo nurse who came to walk in her memory).

Who knows what our number will be next year!

Melia designed the Team Tootsie shirts this year, and they were beautiful.

Personally, I love knowing what I am going to be wearing next year...

And the next...

And the next.

Anything to make life a little easier!

Cousins sharing secrets.

Love this so much.

The newest batch of cousins...

Sawyer (nine months), Judith (two years, five months) and RT (four months).

The very best way to "grow" a Team!

NOT RANDOMNESS - The Facts About Ovarian Cancer (First Posted in 2011)

My Mom has ovarian cancer.

She asked me to talk about it on the blog to help raise awareness, and, of course, I agreed.

Mom's story began one year, four months ago. She went for her regular check-up, and the doctor discovered a tumor. She had not been sick prior to going to the doctor. Except for a few "things" most women experience from time to time (fatigue and bloating), she had no clue she would walk into the doctor's office for a check-up and walk out of the same office diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Today, I'm going to give you some of the facts regarding ovarian cancer.

Each year, about 22,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. While it is the ninth most common cancer (other than skin cancer) in women, ovarian cancer is the fifth highest cause of cancer death in women. Most women who develop ovarian cancer are older than 60. It is found more often in white than African-American women.

The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague or like other conditions. This may make it hard to diagnose. It often has spread to other parts of the body when it is found.

Because of this, it is nicknamed is "The Silent Cancer."

I want to give you a complete list of the symptoms, although you may have one or more of them at a time.

General abdominal discomfort or pain (gas, indigestion, pressure, swelling, bloating, cramps)
Bloating and/or a feeling of fullness, even after a light meal
Nausea, diarrhea, constipation or frequent urination
Unexplained weight loss or gain
Loss of appetite
Abnormal vaginal bleeding
Unusual fatigue
Back pain
Pain during sex
Menstrual changes

These symptoms do not always mean you have ovarian cancer. However, it is a good idea to discuss them with your health care provider if they are new symptoms, last more than a few weeks and/or occur numerous times a month.

As I stated before, my Mom had no idea anything was wrong.

Needless to say, she is an advocate of regular check-ups, early detection and awareness... and as her family, we have become advocates, too.

Mom's Personal Story

In May of 2011, Mom went for her regular check-up. At that time, her doctor discovered the cancer. As I stated before, my Mom was not sick. She was living an active life. She was not in pain. She had bloating and she was more tired than usual, but neither of those "symptoms" raised red flags.

And that is how ovarian cancer works. By the time you have "unusual" symptoms or pain, the cancer has usually spread.

She had exploratory surgery a couple of weeks later, and the cancer was officially diagnosed. She had Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer.

After she recovered from the surgery (five to six weeks), she began chemo treatments. The treatments were scheduled three weeks apart, and except for one of the six treatments, Mom stayed right on schedule.

Except for the cancer, her health was excellent.

She finished her last chemo treatment in November of 2011... and she checked out "cancer-free."

However, with ovarian cancer, it is important to have three-month check-ups for two years after treatment. This cancer reoccurs often, and early detection is vitally important.

Nine months from the end of her first round of chemo, Mom had her third three-month check-up. A pet scan revealed the cancer had returned, and within two weeks, she had a new port put in and began another round of six chemo treatments. This set of treatments is scheduled to finish the week after Christmas... and then she'll begin her three-month check-ups to make sure the cancer doesn't return over the next two years.

Many of the women who have treatments the same day as my Mom are having their second, third, etc. set of chemo treatments for ovarian cancer.

Skip Ahead from 2011 to 2016...

In February of 2016, Mom had her last chemo treatment. After 75+ rounds of chemo, there were no other options for her other than clinical trials. (She researched the trials, and after much thought, consideration and prayer, decided not to pursue further treatments.)

In April of 2016, Mom's doctor told her she probably had about six months to live. She eventually told me and my sister, but asked us not to tell anyone else. It would be God's decision when her life would end, and not a timeline given to her by a doctor.

The cancer continued to spread throughout her abdomen and lymph nodes...

And she continued to set goals.

She wanted to celebrate Easter with her family.

She wanted to have another birthday.

She wanted to meet her great-grandson, Sawyer, born July 31, 2016.

She wanted to take another fall trip.

She wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving with her family.

She wanted to attend every celebration and event in between along the way...

And she did.

Up until eight days before her death, Mom was driving her car and taking care of her 95 year-old mother (MamMa).

When people saw her, she was well-dressed, accessorized and wearing make-up. I heard people say time and time again, "You look so good."

The picture at the top of the page was taken only two weeks before her death during our Thanksgiving celebration at Palisades in Oneonta. Her mother, kids, grandkids, spouses and two great-grandchildren were in attendance.

The union of two, Harold and Tootsie, has grown to 18... and is still growing as we speak. (Great-grandchild number THREE will be here in a few more days.)

Mom died Monday, December 5, 2016 after a five year, seven month battle with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer...

Which, by the way, she won.

I would like to thank everyone for their prayers, phone calls, cards and texts over the last few days. It has been greatly appreciated.

I would also ask you to continue to pray for my grandmother and all of the grandkids as they begin living life without "Grandmother." She had a daily relationship with her family, and they are most certainly going to miss her earthly presence.

That being said, they also know and are happy she is spending Christmas 2016 with Granddaddy this year.

It has been a long time.


The Enchanting Belinda
Firstborn Daughter of Harold and Tootsie Smith

P.S. Here are some pics from last year's MotherWalk...

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