Tuesday, March 27, 2018

First Zoo Visit of 2018, Samford Easter Egg Hunt with RT, Palm Sunday/Easter, Quotable Quotes AND Joanna Gaines' Classic Quiche Lorraine

Good Wednesday morn!

RANDOMNESS #1 - First Zoo Visit of 2018 -There was a day last week which was warmish and sunnyish and springish...

And Judith and I decided to meet Pop at the Zoo for lunch and a lion visit.

On any given Zoo Day, before heading to the lion den, we SIMPLY MUST stop at the barn to see the goats, sheep and pigs...

Then it is off to the bear exhibit to check on the black bears...

And the fox hole to say hello to the gray and red foxes...

And we can't be rude and ignore the red-tailed hawk, can we?

There may also be a tree (or two) that need to be climbed.

But none of those things can compare to the sight and sounds of the majestic King of the Jungle and his lovely mate.

Ten minutes.

We stood there ten minutes mesmerized by the two sleeping cats.

Huge cats...

But cats, nonetheless.

"Let's go ride the train now, Judith."

She shook her head, and continued to stare at the lions.

"The carousel? Would you like to ride the carousel?"

Again, the slight shake of the head.

Five more minutes passed.

That made a total of 15 minutes I will never get back.

At the age of 56, I try to be very careful how I spend my minutes, and I can assure you watching sleeping cats has never been on the list.

I finally lured her away when I offered to let her ride the lion ON the carousel...


I know what your thinking.

"If Judith loves lions so much, why is she riding the manatee?"


The manatee went up and down, and the lion was stationary.

No self-respecting three year-old would be caught on a stationary carousel animal, thank you very much!

After all, Judith does have a reputation to maintain.

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - Any and all minutes spent on a carousel are always "worth it." (With or without a grand-tot.)

Time very well spent!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Samford Easter Egg Hunt with RT - RT participated in his first ever Easter Egg Hunt at Samford this past Saturday morning. He enjoyed every bit of it...

And so did we!

RANDOMNESS #3 - Palm Sunday/Easter - Faulkner Family Party of Nine celebrated Easter a week early on Palm Sunday. The weather was really nice and mild, and we were able to spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon playing with the grand-tots.

This was the set-up for our after-lunch activities.

The Wall-O-Cups refused to stay up even though there wasn't a breeze anywhere to be found.

I put the Wall-O-Cups up four times...

And Austin put it up once...

Before I made the decision to scrap the Wall-O-Cups.

Life is too short...

And I had already spent way too much time with the lions earlier in the week (see above).

Melia made Resurrection Gardens for RT and Judith. After Austin read the devotion, the kiddos and parents went on a stick/rock hunt to "add to" the Gardens.

Judith can add flowers and smaller rocks (and other nature "things") to the Garden the week before Easter.

The big rock will be put in front of the tomb the night before Easter (before Judith goes to bed), and on Easter morning when she wakes up, it will have been rolled away.

I had never seen the Resurrection Garden, and I really loved this idea for kids.

After working on the Gardens, it was time for an Egg Hunt.

As you can plainly see, RT wasn't very interested in the idea of hunting eggs again.

Not even a little bit.

Did I mention The Chick came home for Easter Dinner on Palm Sunday?

Well, she did, and all was right with the world.

Back to the Egg Hunt!

Last, but not least, I made a Spring Sensory Bin for the kids using Rice Krispies (six boxes from Dollar General), 16 plastic insects (The Dollar Tree), ten plastic Easter eggs, a hummingbird feeder, two butterflies and one bird (also, The Dollar Tree) AND two plastic scoops to pour Rice Krispies everywhere.

It was a huge hit with Judith and the baby pool filled with balls was equally fun for RT.

All in all, it was a very nice Easter celebration.

Quotable Quotes

"Life is like a camera. You focus on what's important. Capture the good times. Develop from the negative. And if things don't work out, take another shot." Anonymous

Joanna Gaines' Classic Quiche Lorraine

You will need the following:

1 baked 9" pastry shell
5 eggs
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 grated white onion
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
8 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. In a bowl use a fork to lightly beat the eggs.

3. Add cream, onion, pepper, salt and paprika. Mix well.

4. In a small bowl, toss Swiss cheese with flour.

5. Add cheese and bacon to egg mixture. Stir to combine.

6. Place the pan with the pastry shell on a rimmed baking sheet. Gently pour in egg mixture.

7. Bake 1 hour or until set and knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

8. Cover edges of quiche with foil while baking if needed to keep crust from overbrowning.

9. Cool 30 minutes before serving.

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - I have made quiche before using several different recipes. However, following the instructions to the letter of the above, this dish was fluffier and tastier than any I had previously tried.

Well, I take that back.

I didn't use Swiss cheese. I substituted Cheddar once and a Colby Jack combo once. Both times, it was delicious.

Also, if you haven't already started reading The Magnolia Journal, you should remedy that immediately. Great magazine. Great articles, pictures AND recipes.

Have a lovely rest of the week. I will be back soon with a few "April" things to share.


The Enchanting Belinda

Sunday, March 18, 2018

So We Went Out to Eat..., Wednesday with RT, The Chick Went to Chicago for Spring Break, Quotable Quotes AND Pinterest Stuff (Garden Bird Seed Sensory Bin AND Ways to Simplify Children's Lives)

Good Sunday evening!

RANDOMNESS #1 - So We Went Out to Eat... - After church last Sunday, The Faulkner Family (Party of Nine) met up at The Snack Shack which is close to Josh and Courtney's church in Somerville. We gathered around a long rectangular table and got ready to break bread together, but because of the big Sunday crowd, we had to wait a pretty good while for our food.

No problem.

A couple of baskets of crackers helped us stay pleasant while we sat...

And Judith and RT put on a pre-lunch show.

As you can tell from the pics, it was a love story.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Wednesday with RT - Little Man is growing up every day which would be extremely sad if he wasn't so, so cute.

When he comes to the house, we have things we like to do...

Play with the elephant that blows balls out of his nose...

Empty any and all containers which hold blocks or other toys...

Go through the stack of books until he finds the Thomas the Train and Curious George books...

Read the Thomas the Train and Curious George books...

A lot.

Also, as his walking has improved, he likes to meander throughout the house in a giant circle.

He stops in the kitchen to talk to "the little boy in the stove."

Then he goes through the living room, dining room, den and heads back to the kitchen.

Every few laps, he'll look over his shoulder to see if I am still following him.

I am.

I could close doors and set up barricades, but I figure this is the best way for both of us to get our 10,000 steps in for the day.

Quite honestly, I could follow this little guy around for a very long time.

RANDOMNESS #3 - The Chick Went to Chicago for Spring Break - Below find a few pics of Roxie and her friend, Julie, on their first trip to Chicago.

They had a wonderful time. They ate deep dish pizza, went to a Chicago Bulls game, rode the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier, spent time with a very entertaining polar bear at the Zoo, took their picture in front of The Bean, saw the non-working giant water fountain, stood/sat on the glass floor at Willis Tower...

The list could go on and on, but the main thing is The Chick is home now, and life is exactly as it should be...

As far as I'm concerned.

Aren't they lovely?

Quotable Quotes - I have two quotes about unrelated topics, but they both make a world of sense (to me).

"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." Anonymous

"If you want to change the world, go home and love your family." Mother Teresa

Pinterest Stuff

Garden Bird Seed Sensory Bin

You will need the following:

Plastic under-the-bed storage container from Walmart
Bird seed
Wooden birdhouse
Stones from Dollar Tree
Garden gnome(s) from Walmart
Plastic insects and reptiles from Dollar Tree
Scoops from Target
Trucks from Dollar Tree
Silk flowers from Dollar Tree

1. First things first. Pour bird seed into the bin.

2. Take the insects and reptiles and bury them a little. The kids loved searching for them in the bird seed and finding them one by one.

3. Now place the garden gnome(s) and bird house. I put these on opposite corners to balance out the look of the bin and leave the middle open for playing.

4. I then added the stones and plastic flowers to the bin.

5. I leave the scoops and trucks out of the bin so it is not too cluttered. This will give the kids time to explore the bird seed bin before adding the other items.

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - Depending on weather, I may have this ready for the grand-tots to play with next Sunday when we celebrate Easter at our house. I'll let you know how it goes.

Ways to Simplify Children’s Lives


This is perhaps the most obvious place to start, and it is also a LOT of fun. Below find a few tips to help decide which toys need to find a new home.

Remove broken toys.
Remove toys with missing parts.
Remove toys your child hasn’t played with in over a month.
Always keep favorites which are often simple and classic toys.

After you remove excess toys, your child may still have too many available at any one time. Create a toy library so you can rotate toys on a regular basis.


While it’s healthy for children to be aware of the world around them, we need to safeguard them against age inappropriate information which will not “prepare” our kids for the world, but will paralyze them. The National Institute of Mental Health suggests the brain doesn’t fully mature until our mid- to late-twenties with the frontal lobe, responsible for judgment and decision-making, being the last region to complete development. Children simply can’t process adult information.

Exposing them to distressing world news can be the source of genuine uneasiness over a situation they can’t rationalize. Watching traumatic news after the kids go to bed or limiting adult conversations can go a long way to reducing a child's anxiety level.


The American Academy of Pediatrics reports children spend an average of seven hours a day on screens, including television, devices, computers and phones. While you would be hard pressed to find a parent who is unaware of the potentially harmful effects of screens on brain development, reducing screen time remains one of the most common modern day parenting challenges. So where do you start?

Perhaps the most powerful influence we can have is to model the behavior we would like to see by reducing our own screen time.

I have even started setting rules for myself. I don’t reply to texts immediately unless it’s urgent. E-mails can wait. Social media updates will be there later.

Out of sight, out of mind works well for me, so I hide my phone from myself. And using flight mode is my new best friend.

They say it takes three weeks to break a habit, so make a 21-day challenge. Leave your phone at home when you go out as a family. Have a social media free weekend. Switch your phone off an hour before bed. It’s only the tip of the screen time iceberg, but leading by example will filter down to your kids.


In Simplicity Parenting, Kim John Payne describes daily life as a song, with both high and low notes. The high notes are school, sports practice, music lessons and birthday parties. The low notes are walking the dog, getting an ice cream with Dad or playing catch in the backyard.

It’s important that we build in regular low notes for our kids to rely on as a release of tension and a break from the pressures of daily life. It’s also a valuable opportunity to strengthen our connection with our kids.


Since I was a child, homework and time spent in structured activities has doubled which means free time has been cut in half for most children. On top of this, kids are being carted from one activity to the next resulting in almost constant stimulation. Payne says, “A child who doesn’t experience leisure – or better yet, boredom – will always be looking for external stimulation, activity or entertainment."

By prioritizing time for free play over organized activities, we foster creativity, self reliance and happiness. As an added benefit, parents who feel like a taxi service enjoy a new sense of calm and a chance to spend more quality time with their kids; one of the simple joys of parenting.

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - I totally agree with so much of the above. I don't have young kiddos any longer, but I thought for anyone out there who might still be in that particular stage of life, it was worth a read!

The above can be found at www.simpleasthatblog.com.

Have a most wonderful March week. I'll be back soon with more pics and other Spring Stuff!


The Enchanting Belinda
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