Saturday, April 21, 2018

An Evening with Aubie (and The Chick), Grand-Totting at the Cracker Barrel, Blog Linkage, Quotable Quotes, Restaurant Review (Big Bad Breakfast) AND Pinterest Stuff (8 Steps for Overcoming Bitterness)

Good Saturday afternoon!

I'm doing the "backward" thing again this week. Just trying to keep you on your toes...

Pics at the bottom!

Blog Linkage - Go to Confessions of a Pioneer Woman under My Blog List and read her post entitled "The Boarding House is Open."


This is on my bucket list, and I will also go so far as to say I want to stay in The Green Room.

Oh... my!

Most definitely The Green Room.

Quotable Quotes

"A husband can love his wife best when he loves God first." Anonymous

I think the same is true of a wife!

Restaurant Review

Big Bad Breakfast

Mike and I went to Homewood to try brunch at this new-to-us restaurant this past Saturday.

There was about a 30-minute wait, but we were okay with that. I went across the street and bought a few cake bites from Pastry Arts for later, and Mike and I spent the rest of our waiting time people watching.

There were many young families there, as well as couples similar to me and Mikie. In other words, lots of really good-looking people to watch.

When they called us, we were seated in the upstairs dining area. It has that urban/warehouse feel. High ceilings, lots of wood, lots of light, not crowded...

And babies, babies everywhere. I thoroughly enjoyed my table.

Everything on the menu is very fresh and local, so I had the fresh-squeezed orange juice (delicious) and Mikie had the fresh-brewed coffee (equally delicious). Between the two of us, Mike and I ordered pretty ordinary breakfast fare (scrambled eggs, bacon, wheat toast, sausage and pancakes)...

And then we waited.

If there was a negative to this restaurant, this was the only one we found. We had a longer than usual wait for our food.

However, once the food arrived, everything from the scrambled eggs (really, really great eggs) to the spicy/sweet bacon (just right) to the homemade peach and blackberry jams on the table (oh... my... goodness) made us happy about our brunch choice.

We will definitely go again, because sometimes things happen on the way to the kitchen (or in the kitchen) and there is an unusually long pause between ordering and eating. We get that. We're both very hip and with it that way.

The coffee and ALL of the food were worth it though...

And something tells me we won't have to wait that long next time.

I'll let you know when we try it again in a week or two!

Pinterest Stuff

8 Steps for Overcoming Bitterness

1. Trust God to use bad for good. (Romans 8:28)

2. Put your hope in God alone. (Psalm 62)

3. Focus on the good in your life. (Philippians 4:8)

4. Pray for your offender. (Romans 12:14)

5. Don't let Satan condemn you. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

6. Listen to God's conviction. (1 John 1:9)

7. Depend on God's power. (Philippians 4:13)

8. Do it for Christ. (1 Corinthians 6:20)

Bitterness is one of those things I really have to work on overcoming. It doesn't come naturally for me.

That being said, the above is a good list to keep in the front of the Bible for whenever bitterness rears it's ugly head!

Am I right?

RANDOMNESS #1 - An Evening with Aubie (and The Chick) - This past Sunday night, Mike and I headed to Auburn to surprise The Chick.

It seems she tried out for (and was accepted into) an Honor Society. She told us about it over the phone, and we told her congratulations and asked her a few questions (but not too many).


Because we had received a letter a week or so prior to her being notified. The letter invited us to a dinner at The Hotel at Auburn University AFTER the induction, and when all of the students walked into the Ballroom they would be surprised because the parents would be there.

So much fun!

We arrived almost an hour before the dinner, and walked around a little before we were seated at our table in the front of the room. We were super delighted when some friends of ours from Shades Mountain Singles (30+ years ago) were also seated at our table. Kellett and David's daughter, Julianna, was also inducted into the organization.

When it came time for the students to arrive, we were told to be a little quieter, and within five minutes the doors at the back of the Ballroom opened. Forty-nine students came pouring into the Ballroom, squealing and hugging their parents and having their pictures taken.

But no Roxie.

Fun fact for you... We knew Roxie attended the induction, but we weren't quite as sure she would attend the dinner. There have been situations in which Roxie hasn't necessarily felt the need to attend ALL of the festivities planned. It could be because of homework OR shoes that hurt OR exhaustion from a busy weekend. Whatever the reason, we were anxious she might not show...

And for a few moments, it looked like we were correct. Forty-nine students entered, and then Mike and I were looking at an empty doorway.

I whispered to Mike, "I am not believing this," but in actuality, I did. I did believe.

We looked at each other, and that is when we heard it.

The sound of The Chick laughing and saying, "It was so good to see you, too," coming from the lobby just beyond the back doors of the Ballroom.


The 50th student walked through those doors, looked around and started beaming when she saw her Dad at the front of the room.

I relaxed because I was going to get to enjoy a very nice dinner with my daughter sitting beside me on a Sunday evening...

And that's good stuff.

Mikie was beaming a little bit, too.

Roxie and Julianna.

Me, Roxie and Mikie.

I wanted to mention we had entertainment while we waited for the kids to arrive. Aubie came into the Ballroom, visited and had pics taken. This particular photo was taken AFTER his initial interaction with me and Mike. He noticed the empty chair beside me and settled in for a more lengthy stay.

What can I say?

Kids and tigers adore me!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Grand-Totting at the Cracker Barrel - Mike had to go out of town this week, so in order for him to get to spend a little time with both Judith and RT, we met Melia and RT (Austin had to work). I had picked Judith up earlier in the day, so it was two Grand-Tots and three adults. Those odds are pretty good.

Aunt Mia bought Judith a unicorn purse and RT a lift-the-flap book, and they were ready to enjoy their time at Cracker Barrel.

Such sweet little Tots.

I kinda love them.

I hope you and yours have a marvelous April weekend. I will try to do my best to do the same.

Talk to you soon!


The Enchanting Belinda

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Don't Touch my Face... EVER, A Day at the Park with RT, A Day at the Botanical Gardens with Judith, Blog Linkage, Pinterest Stuff (18 Fun Things to do on Mother's Day AND Creating Memories)

Good Saturday evening!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Don't Touch my Face... EVER - As some of you may already know, I love little kids. I really do.

I love their bed hair.

I love their sense of humor.

I love the way they love with kisses and nuzzles and hugs.

I love the way they see the world... simple, simple, simple.

I love them so, so much, I almost hate to mention the one thing they do that really, really bugs me.

Infuriates me, actually.

I cannot stand when they touch my face.

And not just little kids.

Anyone and everyone.

I have a problem, I know.

When Judith comes over to spend the night, she and I sleep upstairs in Aunt Roxie's bed with the twinkle lights and I rub/pat her back until she closes her eyes for the night.

It's our thing.

We like it and it works for us.

However, every now and again, she wants to talk before I begin the back rub/pat, and she wants me to face her.

We start out close, but on separate pillows. Within a few seconds, we're on the same pillow. Once our heads are on the same pillow, we are moments away from Miss Judith's favorite position... nose-to-nose.

"I can do this," I tell myself. "It's really very sweet, and one day I'll miss this."

However, I do close my eyes, because I think if I close my eyes, she will close her eyes, but...

Not so much.

As soon as my eyelids shut, this is her cue to take a finger and rub my eyelashes... back and forth, back and forth.

"Oh... my... goodness! I think I'm going to scream in her face!"

But I have remarkable restraint and I continue to answer her many questions with my eyes closed, nose-to-nose and with her tiny fingers playing with my eyelashes.

When I think I cannot stand it any longer, she pulls her nose off of my nose and removes her fingers from my eyes.

"YES! It's over! She's asleep!" I open one eye just the tiniest bit to see if she is, in fact, sleeping peacefully.

Nope. She's quiet, but she's looking at something else on my face. Something down toward the chin area.

"Oh, dear. If she starts touching my chin and my neck, things are going to get bad around here." I lie very still and try to breathe evenly.

And that's when Miss Priss shoves three fingers into my mouth and starts rubbing/scratching my teeth.

I tell her it's time to go to sleep, and not to put her fingers in Nana's mouth.

I do NOT tell her I'm trying very hard not to bite her.

She giggles and plays with my face some more, and just when I think I'm going to snap, she puts both of her tiny hands on either side of my face and kisses me on my nose and my cheek, and get this...

She says, "I love you, Nana, so, so much."

I take that moment to get over myself, hold her tiny face in my hands, kiss her tiny nose and tiny cheek and say, "I love you so, so much, too, Judith."

And then we both go to sleep.

But not before I turn on my side and face the wall. I cannot risk waking up with tiny hands all over my face. Let me tell you, it would NOT be a good start to my day!

RANDOMNESS #2 - A Day at the Park with RT - Any park will do, but I am especially fond of a nearby park that also has a Dog Park AND giant plastic zoo animals in various and sundry places around the playground area. Love, love, love any and all kinds of zoo animals. (Even the plastic variety.)

Fun fact for you...

This isn't a giant plastic crane. It's a real one. You cannot tell by the picture, but the top of it's head is a bright yellow.

Not only is it a real crane, but it is obviously a very rare, exotic crane, and RT and I discovered it in a local park. We are lucky that way.

Plastic giraffe, just in case you weren't sure.

There are two things RT and I enjoy doing while visiting this particular park at this particular time in his little life.

We like to walk around the trail drinking our juice...

And we like to swing.

A lot.

And when we do those two very specific things, we tend to go home looking like this!

RANDOMNESS #3 - A Day at the Botanical Gardens with Judith - One of my favorite places to take kids is the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Beautiful to look out, fun to run/walk through, photo ops everywhere, FREE, etc., etc.

Mike met me and Judith at the Gardens this past week, and we had a lovely time.

Judith's Daddy climbed upon this very rock many, many times during his own childhood.

Feeding the koi is a right of passage in the Faulkner household.

NOTE FROM THE ENCHANTING BELINDA - These fish actually give me nightmares. Except when the kids are throwing them big chunks of bread, I am pretty much anit-koi.

Mutual head-patting going on here.

The only thing better than a Spring day at the Gardens...

A Fall day.

Cannot wait!

Blog Linkage - Below you will see a Pinterest Stuff Section about Creating Memories. The website, www.sharingmyfavorites.com, had all of these suggestions and many, many more. Check it out if you get a chance.

Pinterest Stuff

18 Fun Things to do on Mother’s Day

1. Run a 5k. - Get moving and be happy. Participating in a 5k (whether you walk or run) is a great and healthy tradition to start.

2. Plan a themed picnic. - Preparation can be half the fun. Pick a theme (Parisian, dessert-only, etc.), a location and enjoy.

3. Plan a scavenger hunt. - This one could be really elaborate. Create a whole day affair and make a scavenger hunt focused on all Mom’s favorites... favorite spot to get coffee, a shop where she can indulge, etc.

4. Plant something green. - Mark the occasion by planting something... a tree, flowers or herbs.

5. Turn the kitchen into a restaurant. - Let your kids make their own restaurant in the kitchen (set the table, prepare menus, act like chefs, serve the parents like waiters. etc.).

6. Schedule a family photo shoot. - Moms LOVE photos and this would be such an amazing gift to schedule a fun family shoot. You can opt for a professional or simply create a DIY family photo session filled with all the reasons Mom is loved!

7. Put together a sundae bar. - After photos, ice cream for everyone! Create an elaborate over-the-top sundae bar or head to the local ice cream shop and order up the biggest sundae to share.

8. At-home spa with a twist. - This isn’t your normal spa. Put a twist on it! Dye everyone’s hair (temporarily, of course), add in some temporary tattoos and funky nail designs. Everyone participates!

9. Movie night featuring old home videos. - Gather home videos from a couple years ago or from when Mom was a kid and plan a movie night with her favorite snacks. (Don’t forget to record the event so you can watch it in years to come!)

10. Have a cook-off. - Pick a food and host a cook-off. For example, you could create a seasoning/marinade station for chicken wings and everyone makes their own. The best creation wins! You can also do this with sugar cookie decorating, pizza, milkshakes and more.

11. Spend the night at a hotel. - Even if it is close by, take a night and spoil the family by staying a hotel. Go swimming in the hotel pool, order room service and bring lots of board games.

12. Find fun local events. - Visit your friend Google and search for Mother’s Day activities in your state. There are usually loads of places that offer free admission. Plus, you’ll be able to see if there are any special events planned, such as a tea party at your local library.

13. Host a Gilmore Girls Marathon. - Everyone in the family can suck it up for one day and make like a true Gilmore girl. Sit your butt in front of the TV with loads of sweets and buckets of coffee.

14. Explore a new part of town. - Even though most of us may live in one place for awhile, there’s always a place we haven’t explored. Set out to do that this Mother’s Day.

15. Play a "Mom" trivia game. - This one could be especially fun if you’re hosting more than one Mom. Make note cards with questions and Mom’s answers on the back, and see which teams or family members guess correctly.

16. Rent a luxury car for the day. - I know a lot of Dads may be all about this one, but it can also be a great idea for Mother’s Day. Treat your Mom like a celebrity, and go all out on the date details. Specify the type of attire, put together a music playlist and just cruise with the windows down ready to take the day as it comes.

17. Do something new. - Is there a challenge that could be conquered as a family? Rock-climbing? A cooking class? An art class? A ropes course?

18. Watch the sunrise. - How often do you intentionally wake up to watch the sunrise as a family? Probably never, right? Because that’s crazy! But how special would it be to do this... on purpose? Make it a big deal. Pajamas required, lots of coffee and a breakfast prepared by everyone EXCEPT Mom.

Creating Memories: 5 Simple Things My Children Absolutely Loved

1. Candlelight Dinners - In the winter (when it was already dark at dinnertime), I often had candlelight dinners. It didn’t matter if it was just a normal weeknight. It didn’t matter if we were eating hamburgers or steak. When everyone got to the table, we turned out all the lights and lit the candles. My boys LOVED IT.

I noticed a couple of things about our candlelight dinners...

Mealtime lasted longer. No one wanted it to end, so we ate slower. And we talked more!

They ate foods they normally wouldn’t even try. One of my sons always refused to eat anything green. Because the lights were out, he couldn’t see the colors, and he ate something green and absolutely loved it.

2. Warm Blankets at Bedtime - If you’ve ever stayed in a hospital, you know they give you warm blankets if you are chilly.

Whenever my boys were sick or if it was a cold night, I put a blanket in the dryer for three to four minutes. When they got into their bed, I spread that warm, straight-from-the-dryer blanket over them. Their little faces just lit up. I knew they were feeling happy, warm and safe. What could be better?

3. The Adventures of the Snake - During the summer before my son, Alex, started kindergarten, we visited a local reptile zoo. His souvenir was a toy stuffed animal from the gift shop: a furry, turquoise blue, four-foot long snake. He carried that thing around for weeks. When school started in August, I knew it might be scary for him to be away from his parents for the first time. I wanted him to know that even though his days were different now, his family would always be there for him.

When I straightened his room that first day, I put the stuffed snake on his bed and placed some headphones on the snake’s head. When Alex came home, he was delighted to see his snake was “listening” to music. From then on, he came home in the afternoon and went straight to his bedroom to see what his snake had done while he was away. One day, Mr. Snake was watching YouTube videos about snakes. Another day, he had tied the stuffed dog to the bed. One day, he was hanging from the ceiling fan.

That year, Mr. Snake played with Legos, rode a scooter, took a nap under the covers, read Alex’s favorite book, played with action figures, wrote letters to Alex and so much more. It kept me on my toes thinking of ideas, but it was always worth it to see the excitement on Alex’s face. Such a simple thing brought joy to Alex, and he will never forget.

4. Family Read-Alouds - Reading a good book can transport you to places you’ve never been. Before a child learns to read, parents spend hours reading to them, but studies have shown the benefits of reading to your child even after they’ve learned to read.

When I homeschooled my boys, they spent hours curled up on the couch while I read to them. Those were wonderful times that we spent together being carried away to other lands, laughing at Hank the Cowdog, trying to help The Hardy Boys solve a mystery or marveling at how Brian Robeson survived in the Canadian wilderness with just a hatchet. Just recently, my teenager was reading a book he thought his little brother would enjoy. I was surprised when he asked me if I’d read some of it aloud to the two of them because he loved being read to as a child.

5. Food - Food can be a wonderful way to build memories with your kids. We all have memories of dishes our Mom or Grandma cooked. We also remember specific foods we always ate at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

My oldest son loves sports. Any Saturday in the Fall, you’ll find him watching college football games on TV. I know these Saturdays are special to him, so I try to make some snacks for him to eat during the game. We have sausage balls, buffalo chicken dip, nachos, monkey bread or other simple finger foods. I know he’ll always remember watching College Gameday with his Dad and eating the snacks his Mom lovingly prepared.

Another one of our food traditions happened when my son played high school football. On Saturday mornings, he and his Dad would always talk in-depth about the previous night’s game. They’d discuss plays, what worked, what didn’t work and what changes the team needed to make. As they talked, I would pull out my Belgian waffle maker and make us all a big breakfast. Those Saturday breakfasts/strategy meetings were special to us.

Have a wonderful rainy Saturday evening and Sunday. I'll be back soon with more, more, more!


The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, April 5, 2018

McWane Center with RT, Easter Sunday in Oxford, McWane Center with Judith, Pinterest Stuff (April Fun Family Traditions AND How to Leave a Legacy of Hospitality)

Good Thursday evening!

RANDOMNESS #1 - McWane Center with RT - Last week, Melia, RT and I went to McWane Center to purchase my Grandparent Annual Pass...

And to play in the Itty Bitty Magic City.

I am going to LOVE this Pass!

RT enjoyed the "two and under" play area. It is in a large enclosed area of the IBMC and a McWane Center "person" makes sure the age limit is enforced.

The little ones do not get pushed around or run over by an older child, and RT would probably have stayed here for the entire time if Melia and I hadn't urged him to explore the other areas.

The "water play" area has something for the little guys/gals AND the five year-old crowd, too.

They have thought of everything...

Everything, I tell you!


And buttons!

What else does a one year-old need, I ask you?

And the answer...

Legos to hold and a box of Legos to sit in beside the Lego table.

The Lego table appeared to be a waste of space to RT.

It was a one year-old's dream day, and although RT enjoyed only about a third of what IBMC had to offer, he'll be going again and again and again in the days and weeks ahead.

And he will NOT be bored.

And neither will his Nana!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Easter Sunday in Oxford

This year, we missed Brandi, Jared, Matthew and Lauren...

Austin, Melia and RT...

And Josh, Courtney and Judith.

But Jared, Amber, Mackenzie and Micah were all there, so we hid eggs and had a good time enjoying these two kiddos.

A quick tie removal and clothing change, and the kids were more than ready for the egg hunt.

Mackenzie decided to go for speed and put her basket in a central location in the middle of the yard.

She would visit it when her hands filled with eggs.

See, at four years of age, she is older and wiser now and has found the way that works best for basic Easter egg hunting success.

Micah, on the other hand, felt more confident keeping his basket with him the entire time.

He's two now, you know.

For a short while, Micah followed Mackenzie and tried to gather eggs, but it soon became frustrating.

By the time the second egg hunt began, he had it all figured out.

If Mackenzie went east, he went west.

If she turned right, he turned left.

You get the gist.

All in all, a very nice way to spend an Easter afternoon with two sweet kiddos.

RANDOMNESS #3 - McWane Center with Judith - This past Tuesday, I introduced Judith to the Itty Bitty Magic City, and while she had just as much fun as RT, she played in totally different areas.

This has been at McWane since the beginning, I think, and it is still as mesmerizing now as it was then.

I'm pretty sure Judith thought this giant "ball maze" was the entire reason we traveled to McWane Center this past week...

But she would be wrong.

After Pop met us for lunch, we explored some more.

Playing in the water was just as much fun for Judith as it was for RT.

And she had a good time putting yarn balls in the blowy-tube-thingy and waiting for the yarn balls to blow out of a different hole into her face.

For the record, I liked it, too.

But her favorite area was the "climbing, sliding and climbing some more" part of IBMC.

She played hard, and she played long.

While she didn't play in all of the areas of IBMC either, I did manage to get a picture of her milking the cow.


Real pretend milk comes out when you squeeze the udders.

I kid you not.

It is a magical place!

Pinterest Stuff

April Fun Family Traditions

These traditions were on Pinterest, but many more can be found at www.flandersfamily.info. I visited the website, and I am pretty sure I will be going back. There are some great ideas for families on this site.

Make homemade pretzels
Take a walk in the rain (umbrellas optional)
Plant a tree
Plant new annuals
Draw family chalk portraits on the sidewalk or driveway

How to Leave a Legacy of Hospitality

"The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies — in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:7-11

It’s been nearly fifteen years ago, but I can remember it well; the big pot of soup simmering on the stove, smiling faces, warm welcomes, dining table clear and wide open for any that would come and share.

This was usual fare at their home, this family from our church, who graciously offered hospitality to young adults – and we eagerly accepted. My husband and I, only dating at the time, eagerly anticipated our time together at their home. We knew we are always welcome, even unannounced (which was often), and that there would always be room for us. It was a good place for us to be, a stable family for us to be with and a fantastic opportunity for accountability in our own budding relationship.

Their home wasn’t lavish, there wasn’t any museum quality furniture in sight, but it was drenched in love and fellowship. And the young people of the church, as well as their unchurched friends, could always be found there.

I’m not sure they knew that they were mentoring us, but they were.

“Have you listened to this?” he would ask, handing over a copy of a Michael Medved tape about the follies of Hollywood and television.

“Have you been behaving yourselves?” he would ask, after seeing us alone together for a moment.

“Did you watch this?” he would ask, with a Focus on the Family video in his hand.

When they talked of paying off their mortgage and owning their home, we began to dream. Maybe one day we could do it. They planted a seed, and years later, the Lord helped us fulfill that dream and we paid for our home, too.

Why am I sharing this today? Because I wonder what lives you might change, what young person you might mentor, if you endeavored to leave a legacy of hospitality.

You don’t need much. A small home will do if there’s love in it. Meals needn’t be elaborate or expensive. A big pot of soup? Well, you know that I have fond memories of that. Coffee or tea? Perfect.

Pray for your guests before they arrive and after they leave, as they come and go:

May your home be a place of rest, encouragement, growth and inspiration.
May they see glimpses of Him through your family, your home and your home life.
May their families find healing if they have been hurting and a balm for their hearts if they are grieving.
May they leave somehow better for having been there at all.

Will you be one who leaves a legacy of hospitality?

“The ideal Christian home is a far-reaching benediction... It's doors stand ever open with a welcome to every one who comes seeking shelter from the storm or sympathy in sorrow or help in trial. It is a hospice where the weary or the chilled or the fainting are sure always of refreshment, warmth, kindly friendship, gentle ministry, mercy. It is a place where one who is in trouble may go confident ever of sympathy and comfort. It is a place where the young people love to go because they know they are welcome and because they find inspiration and help there.” J. R. Miller.

NOTE FROM THE ENCHANTING BELINDA - Honestly, I don't feel that I am naturally hospitable. I know several people who are Biblically hospitable, and I admire them greatly. They seem to have no hesitation or qualm about opening doors and welcoming others into their homes at ANY given time. They are simply amazing.

I truly, truly would love to leave a "legacy of hospitality," but I know for me it will not come easily, will require much work on my part (attitude, attitude, attitude) and stepping/jumping out of my comfort zone.

That being said, the above has motivated me try much harder, and hopefully in the near future, I will be able to report that my "hospitality goals" are actually improving.

Wish me luck...

But be sure to call first!

I hope y'all have a thrilling April weekend. I'll be back before you know it!


The Enchanting Belinda
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