Friday, June 30, 2017

Cincinnati AND Two or Three Grand-Tot Pics (Posted at the Bottom)

Good Friday afternoon!

Mike and I recently went to Cincinnati, Ohio for a little getaway, so I thought while I shared the pics, I would also share how I prefer to travel...

Which will give you a whole new insight on the crazy that IS the Enchanting Belinda.

Please keep in mind, I know this is not how 99.99 percent of the population plans a vacation, but until something better comes along, this is how Mike and I roll...


Road trip, Baby!

1. Picking the destination - At the age of 55 (almost 56), I want you to know I am "state poor."

You heard me correctly. Out of 50 of these here United States, I have only visited 14. That is a very small number compared to my age, which is a number quite large, I think.

Since I want to add as many states to my list as possible over the next decade or so, I was very interested when my friend, Cam, told me about a trip she and her husband had taken to Kentucky AND Ohio.

A twofer!

My heart soared, and I listened intently as she told me of her trip.

They first went to The Creation Museum in Kentucky, and thoroughly enjoyed their time there, before heading only a short drive away to Cincinnati, Ohio (of WKRP fame).



Kentucky and Ohio are that close?

Well, I never!

I talked to Mikie, and told him of my dream of seeing TWO new states in a four-day period, and he was agreeable.

And the planning began in earnest.

2. Picking the hotel - While we were going to be in Kentucky for the majority of the first day, I wanted to stay put in one hotel. Thus, downtown Cincinnati became the hotel location of choice.

When experiencing a new city in a new-to-me state, I like to try something different if at all possible. Thankfully, Cincinnati had several good hotels to consider...

Millennium Cincinnati...

The Cincinnatian Hotel...

Cincinnati Netherland Plaza...

21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati (not a typo).

And that was just a sampling of the diversity of hotels in the area.

Mike and I settled upon Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, and I am so glad we did. Beautiful building, beautiful lobby, beautiful view and beautiful restaurants.

Did I mention it was beautiful?

And very centrally located.

A good choice indeed.

3. Choosing the activities - I usually choose two to four activities per day. I try to have at least one museum, a hike or walk, a River Walk if the city has that option, eating at a Diners, Drive-thrus and Dives restaurant and a theater visit of some kind. The following was our itinerary for Cincinnati:


Lunch at Arnold's in Nashville (a DDD restaurant).
The Creation Museum in Kentucky. It is everything you have heard and more. Make plans to go.
I bought tickets to The Cincinnati Playhouse for the live production of Erma Bombeck: At Wit's End. It was a one-hour show in a local theater, and it was lovely!


The Observatory atop our hotel.
The River Walk along the Ohio River.
The Bridge Walk from Ohio into Kentucky.
A city mural hunt.
Explore our hotel.


The Cincinnati Zoo.
Looking at horse farms in Lexington, Kentucky on our way home. Gorgeous!

4. Choosing the restaurants - This one is pretty easy. We do not want to eat at chain restaurants when we are in a different state. We have been known to use the computer, concierge and/or the stranger on the street to make a list of restaurants we want to try. We also want to eat foods known from that area of the country.

In Cincinnati, it was very obvious.

Skyline Chili - The chili is pretty good, although it is made with some nutmeg and cinnamon. (You don't taste the nutmeg and cinnamon as much as smell it.) The chili is also traditionally served over spaghetti noodles or a hot dog. Mikie went full-Cincinnatian and ate it over spaghetti noodles. I ate it plain.

While I don't know if I would order it again, it was good chili, and I cleaned my bowl.

Graeter's Ice Cream - This is a local place known for it's unique ice cream flavors AND the creaminess of the ice cream. I tried the flavor they are "known for" (black raspberry dark chocolate chip), and while I was expecting some tartness because of the raspberry, it was the creamiest, dreamiest ice cream I have ever eaten. I loved it!

Since Cincinnati Netherland Plaza was the tallest building in town, it also had an observation deck. It only costs $4 per person for some magnificent views, but as hotel guests, we didn't have to pay a penny!

It looks like the Mississippi River because of the muddy appearance, but it is the Ohio River. Mike and I do not know what the River looks like on a normal weekend because we were there during a VERY rainy weekend. I'm going to imagine it is darkish blue.

Feel free to join me in this assumption.

The hotel had these mosaics of the city on one floor...

And a Hall of Mirrors on another floor. The Hall was being prepared for a weekend wedding, but it was open to hotel guests the night before.

When Mikie and I renew our vows, I want to do it here!

Don't worry.

Mikie and I aren't renewing our vows...

But RT and Judith would make a precious ring bearer and flower girl.


This is a Cincinnati bumble bee on a Cincinnati flower.

The parks along the River Walk were amazing.

Including two splash pads, there were at least eight or nine different areas for kids to play and a lot of families were enjoying a sunny day in Ohio.

The River Walk was very well thought out.

This bridge was the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge.

Mikie walked all the way from Ohio into Kentucky.

My friend, Cam, had told me about the murals all around the city, and she wasn't wrong. Mike and I spent about an hour driving around trying to find as many as we could.

At last count, we found 11, but I only took pics of nine.

It appears I am a "mural snob," and two of the murals didn't meet my high expectations.

Our whole purpose of visiting the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens was to see Fiona, the new baby hippo.

Sadly, that didn't happen, but being the zoo enthusiast that I am, I enjoyed myself greatly anyway!

Here is Mama Hippo, but as I mentioned above, Fiona did not make an appearance.

Heavy sigh.

We watched this gorilla get in a slap fight with another gorilla, and then it hid behind a bush.

Major excitement in zoo circles, I tell you.


After leaving the Zoo, we ate a quick bite before heading toward home.

We drove around for an hour and looked at the horse farms in Lexington, and I decided then and there, I wanted a horse...

And a mansion...

With a fountain...

And a statute...

Of a horse...

In the front yard.

Mikie said, "No."

Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend. I'll be back with pics of our holiday weekend one day next week!


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. As promised...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bananas and RT, Cracker Barreling With Judith, Father's Day, If I Could Turn Back Time..., Blog Linkage, Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak Recipe AND Pinterest Stuff (Prayer Walking Through Your Home)

Good Wednesday evening!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Bananas and RT - RT has started trying baby foods.

That's right!

He's five months old, and the doctor said to broaden his food horizons!

Of course, he didn't know what a "food horizon" was...

Until he tasted THE BANANA!

This isn't an "I-don't-like-bananas" face.

This is a "put-the-bananas-in-my-mouth-faster" face.

And to make matters even worse...

He can hold his own bottle now, thank you very much!

Heavy, heavy sigh.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Cracker Barreling With Judith - We had a Father's Day brunch with Josh, Courtney and Judith at Cracker Barrel this past Saturday, and pancakes were consumed and much fun was had playing checkers.

Wrapped around two tiny fingers!

RANDOMNESS #3 - Father's Day - On Father's Day, after we shared a meal with Austin, Melia and RT at Hattie B's, we headed to Oxford to visit with Mike's family.

We started at Jared and Amber's house before heading back to Mrs. Faulkner's house, and a good time was had by all, I think.

As you can tell by this picture, everything was under control...

And then it wasn't.

Don't worry.

Micah is tough. Not a tear was shed, and he did NOT slow down.

The rest of the visit was pretty much spent having photo ops with RT...

And the random drum solo!

RANDOMNESS #4 - If I Could Turn Back Time... - I will be honest. I try NOT to spend a lot of time wishing I could turn back time. Not only is it wasteful of the present, but I rarely feel very good about myself when it is all said and done.

However, despite my best efforts, now and again there are things and/or activities I come across which make the "if I could turn back time" phrase pop into my head.

If I was a YOUNG mother of YOUNG kiddos in the year of our Lord 2017, I would most definitely plan for our family to do a Walk together.

"Enchanting Belinda... You and your family DO a Walk together. The MotherWalk. Remember? Duh?"

Yes. We have now participated in the MotherWalk for Ovarian Cancer Research for the past six years in honor of (and now in memory of) my Mom...

But how I wish Mike, Austin, Josh, Roxie and I had done this when they were tiny people...

Like Judith, Sawyer and RT.

We would have had to save pennies, nickels and dimes all year long to pay for the registration fees, but that would have been part of the lesson of giving, too.

"In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others, too." Philippians 2:3-4

"Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon." Isaiah 58:10

Blog Linkage

1. Go to Confessions of a Pioneer Woman and read Tuesday's post entitled, "Walter's Day in the Sun." I think you might like it, and if going to "the Merc" is on your bucket list, you will REALLY like it!

2. Go to www.faithfullycommitted.com. This is where the Prayer Walk material (see below) was found (through Pinterest). I read some of it, and I intend to read much more. Very good ideas.

Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak

You will need the following for beef patties:

2 pounds ground beef
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 whole eggs
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
2 bay leaves

You will need the following for gravy:

4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1. Combine ground beef, egg, garlic, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper.

2. Make 8 (4 ounce) patties. Arrange in a 6-quart slow cooker.

3. Spread mushrooms and bay leaves on top of patties.

4. To make gravy, in a bowl whisk together melted butter and flour to form a paste. While whisking, gradually add in beef broth to avoid lumps.

5. Add in lemon juice and seasoned salt. Then mix.

6. Cook on low for 7 hours or on high for 4 hours and 30 minutes.

7. Garnish with remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley.

NOTE: For a thicker sauce add in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to flour.

ANOTHER NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA: This is SO good. I may make it more than once a week!

Pinterest Stuff

Prayer Walking Through Your Home (www.faithfullycommitted.com)

Here is a simple guide for praying Scripture over your home during your prayer walk:

Entire House

Pray that your home be built on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:24-27, 1 Corinthians 3:11).
Pray for your family to serve God (Joshua 24:15), and glorify Him in all you do (Psalm 115:1).

Kitchen and Dining Room

Thank God for His provision (Matthew 6:31-32).
Pray that your family’s true nourishment comes from God (Matthew 4:4, John 4:13-14, John 7:37-39).


Pray for the salvation of each family member if they have not already committed their lives to Christ (John 3:16).
Pray the armor of God over each family member (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Pray that your family finds rest in God (Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 4:8).
Pray for each family member to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Living Room

Pray for peace within your family and those around you (Romans 12:18).
Pray for your home to be a welcoming place where you can host and serve others in the name of the Lord (1 Peter 4:10, Hebrews 13:2, 1 Peter 4:9).


Pray that you work as if for God and not for man (Colossians 3:23).
Pray for hearts of financial stewardship and giving that glorify God (Deuteronomy 16:17, 2 Corinthians 9:7).
Pray that you and your family do not develop a love of money (1 Timothy 6:10, Matthew 6:24, Hebrews 13:5).

Doorways and Windows

Pray for protection from evil and it's influences (2 Thessalonians 3:3, 2 Samuel 22:3-4, James 4:7, Isaiah 41:10).
Pray for a peaceful home full of God’s presence (Hebrews 12:14, Philippians 4:6-7, John 14:27).

Love, love, love this!

Have a wonderful Thursday AND weekend, Guys. I'll be back with a new post the first of next week, and you won't want to miss it!

That's a professional BLOG TEASER in case you were wondering.


The Enchanting Belinda
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