Thursday, November 23, 2017

Bath and Body Works Dilemma, Tuesdays with Judith, Blackberry Lane Farm AND Blog Linkage

Good Wednesday morning!

Guess what?

Our Internet has been down for four days.


And it's been okay except I wanted to post on the blog, work on my Christmas card and keep up with the world.

A very nice young man worked on it for over two hours yesterday afternoon, and now I am "good to go."

Also, guess what else?

My picture editing program isn't working.

So my pictures are totally uncropped and unedited.

And the sad part...

I think I'm going to have to figure this one out on my own.

Wish me luck.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Bath and Body Works Dilemma - Call me crazy (get in line), but during the time between Halloween and Thanksgiving, I like my lotion to be from Bath and Body Works, and I want to smell like Autumn. It's as simple as that. Some people don't want to put up their Christmas trees until after Thanksgiving... others do not want to listen to Christmas music or watch Christmas movies until a very specific day on the calendar.

But me...

Well, I'm just a tad bit different.

I don't want to smell like Warm Vanilla Sugar, a very decidedly Christmas scent, until the day after black Friday.

Before that Saturday, if and when you get a whiff of me, it will be Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin, Spiced Caramel Apricot, Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte, Turkey Broth Delight...

You get the idea.

I bought three of the autumnal scented body lotions, and I thought that would get me through, but because strangers kept coming up to me and telling me how good I smelled (I kid you not), I think I may have reapplied too often during the day...

Thus, causing me to run out of autumnal scented lotion two weeks too early.

Here's the dilemma part.

I went to three different Bath and Body stores only to discover there were no autumnal lotions on display. EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING, was most definitely Christmas.

At the third and final store, I walked up to an associate and asked for some of the autumnal lotions from the back.

"We don't have those any longer," she replied.

"I know they aren't in the main store on display, but if you could run to the back and grab a couple for me, I would greatly appreciate it. I am not ready to smell like Peppermint Eggnog Bliss quite yet," I answered very, very sweetly.

"You don't understand," she answered. "The autumnal lotions are gone. They are no longer with us."

I couldn't wrap my head around it. "No longer with us?" Did that mean they were all in that great, big Bath and Body Works in the sky?

And if the answer to that question was affirmative, how did one go about getting up there to buy a couple of tubes?

"Listen. I won't tell anyone if that's what you're worried about. Here. I'll just slip you a $20 and you run to the back of the store and put the tube into a bag. I don't even care which autumnal scent you get, just as long as the tube is burnt orange with gold leaves all over it. No one will ever be the wiser."

She just stared at me. "I think you're going to have to try to order it off the computer."

"Ahhh. So the 'computer' store has all the autumnal lotion. Now I understand," and I winked before turning and heading toward the door.

A quick visit to the website and a few clicks of some key buttons, and I am now smelling good again.

Just like a Salted Caramel Pumpkin.

If you see me out and about the next few days, feel free to step up and take a whiff.

It will bother me not at all!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Tuesdays with Judith - Judith helped me with a Thanksgiving table centerpiece. I think she's going to be a great craft partner as the years go by.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Blackberry Lane Farm - Mike and I took a little middle-of-the-week getaway last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We went to Chelsea to a little place called Blackberry Lane Farm.

Every April, Mike and I go to a Silent Auction to benefit Alzheimer's Research, and this past spring, we bid on (and won) a two-night stay at this farm.

Can I just tell you, it was wonderful?

This is the back of the house taken from the pond. It is typically a wedding venue, and that's why we went during the week because it has a lot of weekend activity going on this season.

As with all things lovely and special, it's the little details throughout that make the difference.

As far as animals go, there were several beautiful horses, four goats, a chicken coop full of fancy chickens...

And two barn cats.

Please note, Mike and I are not cat people.

In fact, I might go so far as to say Mike doesn't care for cats at all...

But the two barn cats, Patrick and Kenneth, took a liking to Mike, and they may or may not have changed his mind and heart just a little bit.

I would have added fish to the animal mix at Blackberry Lane Farm, but we didn't catch one, so I didn't think it would be an accurate statement.

And we all know I am all about accurate statements.


Did I mention the Texas longhorn steer that roam freely around the farm?

I caught this guy hiding behind a bush.

They were beautiful, and once you convinced yourself they were just cows with huge horns and not raging bulls, it was easy to walk right up to them (within six to ten feet), and they were fine.

I do have a question though...

Why was there separate fencing and gates for horses, goats and chickens, but not for the one animal which could absolutely stab you to death with a quick turn of the head?

I wouldn't want to be pecked by a chicken, but on the other hand, I quite possibly could survive a peck attack.

At least, that is what I tell myself.

Blog Linkage - Go to www.kellehampton.com and read these two posts...

1. The Epic Christmas Playlist (November 14, 2017); and

2. New Christmas (and Thanksgiving) Kids' Books and Puzzles for Holiday Break Fun (November 16, 2017).

(You will need to type the titles in the Search Box on her blog.) Talk about useful information!

I have two more major events to share in pics (the Polar Express train ride in Calera with the grand-tots AND our Sunday Thanksgiving at the Palisades with my side of the family), but those will have to wait until another day in the very near future.

Have a wonderful, wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your loved ones. I'll be back in a few days to reminisce with you!


The Enchanting Belinda

Friday, November 10, 2017

Disclaimer, Making Target Pumpkins, Halloween Festival(s), First Annual Cousin Camp-Out, Sunday with RT AND Slow Cooker Steak Soup Recipe

Good Friday morning!

DISCLAIMER - Yeah. Starting a post with a Disclaimer isn't how I like to roll, but today I'm making an exception.

First, and foremost, I want to clear something up about blog posts...

Particularly my blog posts.

I tend to think people know me well enough to realize I'm not perfect...

I don't think I'm perfect.

I don't have a perfectly-kept home.

And I don't have perfect people in my family.

Even the Grand-Tots are not perfect, but as a Nana B, I am blind to whatever imperfections might be evident now or anytime in the foreseeable future.

Please know only the best of my best pics will be shown on the blog. I don't like looking at pictures of people with their eyes closed or making unattractive eating and/or talking faces.

For example...

Why would I post this picture when I have a much better one a few clicks away?

See what I mean?

And while this is a precious pic of RT and Aunt Ro...

Isn't this one so much better?

Just wanted to point out one more time, if you ever think everything is coming up roses over at my house, call me and we'll straighten that misconception up right away.

I bet I could have you crying real tears in a matter of five minutes or less...

And you would probably go out and buy me a present or bake me a pie.

Remember. Call first. I will need to make room in my very messy fridge for all of the baked goods which will be coming my way, I am sure.

Let's get on with it, shall we?

RANDOMNESS #1 - Making Target Pumpkins - Would you believe I didn't care much for Target when it first moved to our area?

I know!

People kept talking about end caps...

And drinking Starbucks while walking through the store...

And the $1 section...

And the different holiday displays.

I went a few times and tried to get into the "Target experience," but failed miserably until about two years ago.

I don't know why, but now I get it.

All of the above to say, I bought two $3 pumpkin decorating kits from Target, and Judith and I had a good time making the traditional Unicorn Pumpkin and the Masked Kitty Pumpkin.

My only complaints...

The glittery unicorn horn would not stay rolled up in the standard "unicorn horn shape."

No matter how hard we tried, it just would not work.

Also, it is hard to make felt unicorn hair curly.

Basically, the Unicorn Pumpkin looked like a Sad Horse Pumpkin who took a shower with a very low-pressure showerhead that could not rinse all of the conditioner out of the horse's mane.

Other than that, we were very pleased with the results.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Halloween Festival(s) - Mike and I went to Hartselle and followed Judith around not one, but TWO, Fall Festivals in the area.

A more precious little cowgirl has never existed, I am sure.

The first Festival had a lot of tossing games which are perfect for little ones Judith's age or older.

Pop and Judith were trying to decide if the inflatable slide was a wee bit too high.
In the end, she tried it with her Momma, but once was most definitely enough.

Before we said good-night to Judith, we ran into her "best fran," her cousin, Grace.

Oh, how she loves this little girl. And Grace loves her back, which is like the best thing in the whole world!

RANDOMNESS #3 - First Annual Cousin Camp-Out - I say "First Annual" knowing full well it is going to be an up-in-the-air event every year depending on weather, everyone's schedules, out-of-town peeps, etc., etc., etc.

Basically, I declare anything and everything I enjoy as "First Annual" in the hope the declaration will make it a LAW.

If it doesn't work out next year, I will try "Second Bi-Annual Camp-Out" on the third year.

If it doesn't work again until Year Number Five, I will call it "The Fifth Reunion of the First Annual Cousin Camp-Out."

And so on, and so on.

There are no pictures of Little Man, because he came in the front door, snuggled down and went right to sleep for the night. At ten months old, that is most definitely his prerogative.

However, I do want it known for posterity's sake, he was in attendance.

Also, the plan was for Josh, Courtney and Judith to be the only campers this year...

And probably next year, too.

Little Man will have to grow into the experience.

Melia turned 26 this past week, so we took a little time to celebrate her before making s'mores around the campfire.

Judith is very comfortable atop Uncle Austin's head.

Roxie's sweet friend and roommate, Nat, came home with her for the weekend. She is a joyful and beautiful young lady, and I hope she comes again and again and again.

Aunt Mia helped Judith cook and eat her first s'more. I think Judith likes her marshmallows best when they are plain and fat, but she gamely tried the camping dessert, so I was good with that.

How lucky am I to be married to this guy?

In between s'mores and actually getting into the tent and spending the night, Judith came in and read herself a little bedtime story.

I think sleeping on a sofa in a tent is a brilliant idea.

Brilliant, I tell you!

And a princess sofa?

Well, it just doesn't get much better now, does it?

On Saturday, Josh and his little family stayed for the Auburn game...

And being the rebel that she is, Courtney dressed Judith up in Alabama garb.

Cute, but not really the time or place for that kind of outfit in Pop's opinion.

THE REST OF THE STORY - Josh, Courtney and Judith would have camped out ALL NIGHT LONG, but around 6:00 a.m., it began to rain...

Inside the tent.

They came in and settled in an upstairs bedroom and slept two more hours.

Most definitely the most positive part of a "backyard" camp-out.


RANDOMNESS #4 - Sunday with RT - Since Little Man was conked out for 99.9 percent of the campout, it was nice to have him visit again Sunday after church for a few hours before Aunt Ro and Nat had to leave.

Very nice, indeed.

Slow Cooker Steak Soup

You will need the following:

2 1/4 pounds sirloin tip roast cut into 1" cubes
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons oil
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
4 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups uncooked medium egg noodles

1. Combine roast, flour, salt and pepper in a large Ziplock bag. Seal and shake to coat beef.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove beef from Ziplock bag, and discard any excess flour mixture. Brown beef about 5 minutes.

3. Place meat into the slow cooker. Add onion soup mix, beef broth, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Cook on LOW for 8 hours, or until beef is tender.

4. Add noodles to slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 15 to 30 minutes, until noodles are tender.

I made this soup the first of the week, and it was GOOD.

However, I will add some carrots to the soup next time to ease my guilt for not partaking of any veggies.

That is all!

Have a great weekend. I'll be back in a few days with much more stuff.


The Enchanting Belinda
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