Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Blog Linkage, Pinterest Stuff (Ten Things I Want My Kids Seeing Me Do Daily), Grand-Totting, Picking Out Porch Pumpkins AND The Chick is 22

Good Wednesday evening!

Blog Linkage - I'm starting out with Blog Linkage because I have two great links for you to check out.

Below you are going to see "Ten Things I Want My Kids to See Me Doing Daily" under Pinterest Stuff. These ten things came from the blog www.creativehomekeeper.com. I read several posts, and they were all very good. Check it out if you get a minute.

Also, type "missional motherhood" in your SEARCH bar on Facebook. Scroll down and click on the post entitled "Thinking Sanely in a World Gone Crazy," written by Donna Gaines. I cannot think of a more timely post to read in 2018.

Pinterest Stuff

Ten Things I Want My Kids Seeing Me Do Daily

1. Read my Bible - My kids need to see me practicing what I’m preaching. If I’m speaking Scripture over them or telling them how important being filled with God’s Word is, then you better believe I need to be in the Word, too.

During this season it hasn’t been realistic for me to have a quiet time in the morning before the kids wake up. Most of the time, my quiet time isn’t actually quiet at all, but instead of complaining I’m using that as a teachable moment.

In the morning I have them get out their Bible book basket, and we read a few stories together and talk about God. Then, while my kids are playing, I read aloud from my daily Bible reading plan and spend some time writing in my prayer journal.

Not only are they seeing me read the Bible and making my devotional time important, but they are also hearing God’s Word. Some of it may be over their heads, but I firmly believe children are sponges and those precious words are the beginning seeds of a deep faith and love for God.

2. Pray - Along with reading the Bible, my children need to see me praying. Prayer should be modeled to them so they can come to know and understand talking with God is natural.

We pray together before nap and bedtime. We pray together during our morning Bible reading time. We pray together during times of discipline and correction, and sometimes they even see me stopping what I’m doing and praying for God to grant me patience or help during a difficult morning.

My son has been anxious about going to school, so we have been praying together on the car ride to school as a reminder God is with him all day long.

I want to show my kids prayer is conversational, and we have access to God all the time through it.

3. Love their Father - Solid marriages also provide stability for children. I want my kids to see what a Godly marriage looks like, and the friendship that exists between husband and wife. My husband and I have a relationship I pray they will have with their future spouses one day.

I want them to see us flirting with one another, respecting one another, supporting one another and even see conflict and resolution between us so they have a healthy example. I don’t want them to see me complaining about or talking disrespectfully about him in front of them.

Simple things such as telling them how great Daddy is, or explaining why I’m cooking one of his favorite meals are examples of showing my kids how much I love their father.

4. Work - Someday my sons and daughter will live on their own and probably have a family. They need to know the value of work, both inside of the home and out. As much as I would love to spend every single moment of every single day sitting beside them reading and playing together, there is a house to run and maintain.

I’ve been starting to introduce chores to them and have them pitch in and help around the house. If I want them to actually help with the day-to-day tasks of cleaning, then they need to see me doing it, too. As in any learning situation, I am their first teacher and this includes things of the domestic nature.

I want both my sons and my daughter to know how to maintain a house which includes the cleaning and cooking. They also watch my husband do the yard work and several other home improvement tasks.

Along with modeling household tasks, I want to model a strong work ethic, too. They will be in school soon and someday will have a job. There are just basic life skills and responsibilities kids need to learn and where better to learn them than from home?

5. Smile and Laugh - My personality tends to lean towards the more serious side when I have tasks to be completed. It’s easy for me to get so caught up in my chores and tasks I forget to smile or stop and laugh at something silly.

I want my children to know I adore them and think they are fun. I want our home to be filled with love and laughter, and many times the mood is created by me.

6. Be Present - As I mentioned above, it’s easy for me to get caught up with my daily to-do list, and even though I’m in the same room with them, I’m not really present with them. There is a time for chores and completing tasks that make the home run more smoothly, but there is also a time to put aside work and get down on the floor to play with them.

I want my kids to know I value them and enjoy spending time with them. It’s also a good lesson to model balancing work and play.

7. Read - Reading is my favorite leisure activity. It fills me up. Reading is also very important educationally, too. My grandfather always used to say that reading was the most important thing anyone could learn to do, and I agree.

8. Being Fair - I am very guilty of telling my kids "no" to a special treat only to then drive through Starbucks to pick up a special treat for myself.

Other times, because I am tired and don’t want to spend the time figuring out who was truly in the wrong, I punish them both my taking away the toy. Not very fair.

There may be certain times and events where things may not always be fair. That is a part of life. I want to make sure I am very diligent about trying to be fair in my interactions with my kids.

9. Rest - I believe in the importance of rest and slowing down. My kids are still young enough where naptime is a part of our day. Every afternoon from 1 to 3 my kids go down for a nap.

I am diligent about using that time to do something that fills my tank and refuels me for the afternoon and evening rush. Most days I work on the blog, but I also make it a priority to rest. If I’m tired and worn out, I won’t try to tackle other projects, I will make myself rest instead. That might mean reading, watching a show I recorded or even taking a little nap.

10. Apologize - Admitting we are wrong and asking for forgiveness is a hard trait to learn, and it usually has to be modeled to our kids for them. I’ve apologized to my children for several things, but the main thing I ask for forgiveness from them is when I act unloving, lose my cool or yell at them.

I humbly ask them to forgive me, just like I’m teaching them to do with each other when a sibling conflict arises. Saying I’m sorry is sadly a lost art in our society, so there aren’t many positive examples outside of our home to teach them.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Grand-Totting - I know in my heart of hearts Autumn is just around the corner, but in Alabama, humidity AND high temps are the reality in late September.

This is not a surprise to me. I have lived in Alabama for 56 of my 57 years, and I cannot recall EVER successfully jumping into a pile of leaves before mid- to late October/early November.


On this particular 90+ degree day in September, the Grand-Tots and I continued our Summer activities.

I taught Miss Judith how to make water balloons, and that was so much fun...

We ended up making 200 of them.

That's when the popping of the 200 water balloons became the "funnest" thing ever.

RT doesn't mind throwing a few water balloons, but his attention quickly became fixated on the hose, and as always when dealing with toddlers, I turned that sucker on the "MIST" setting.

This Nana may or may not have been squirted in the face one too many times by excited little ones.

"MIST" for the win!

Chalk was fun for awhile...

As was driving around in a wet Cozy Coupe...

But then someone found out how to change the settings of the hose, and it was time to finish playing with the water balloons before going to the deck for lunch.

After lunch, we had a little quiet play while watching Veggie Tales and Cars, and then the guys took NICE NAPS FOR NANA!

I gave both of them a $10 because I believe toddlers are the perfect age to begin teaching the importance of a bribe!

Feel free to judge me. I'm too old to care!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Picking Out Porch Pumpkins - In no way is this an activity that replaces the fun and importance of a good pumpkin patch. This specific outing began last year when I took Judith with me to a local Farmer's Market (Witt's) to help pick out my porch pumpkins. She really got into it, so I decided to do it again this year.

She is much stronger this year than last which was a big help dragging that big ol' wagon around in the heat.

What is drudgery for a 57 year-old is a real kick to a three year-old.

Who knew?

I told her to pick out two pumpkins for her front porch, and within seconds she had collected four.

A Daddy pumpkin, a Mommy pumpkin, a Judith pumpkin and a New Baby pumpkin.

It made perfectly good sense to me, so she took four home.

I would definitely come out a little cheaper if I just went by myself to pick out my porch pumpkins, but what would be the fun in that?

RANDOMNESS #3 - The Chicks is 22 - Roxie's birthday was yesterday, so I left the house at 5:15 a.m. with a couple of gifts in hand to meet her for breakfast at Blue Bagel Deli.

(The official family birthday party is scheduled for October 7, and it will be a combo party including Josh (25) and Courtney (27).)

It was a sweet way to celebrate her actual day of birth, and as I always tell my kids, "It's just as much my day as it is yours."

Roxie thinks I tend to make all things about me, but I have no idea where she gets that idea!

I remember almost crying when Austin turned "double-digits." It just seemed so incredibly old.

(This may be what Roxie meant about the "making all things about me" comment.)

I think I see her point.

I miss the little girl, but I'm really enjoying the woman she is becoming.

Have a wonderful rest of the week and weekend. I will be back VERY soon.


The Enchanting Belinda

Monday, September 17, 2018

Blog Linkage, Quotable Quotes, Pinterest Stuff (Object Lesson - Jesus is the Best Gift Ever, Ten Family-Friendly Movies to Watch with Your Kids AND Surprises for Kids), Time Spent with Judith AND a Re-Posting of WHEN YOU FALL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET LEAVING CHURCH BECAUSE YOU WALK UP INTO YOUR FLOWY PANTS LEG

Good Monday evening!

Okay, I have no current pics of Little Man this week, not because I didn't see him, but because I just sat back and made mental memories.

That won't happen again.

Mentally, I'm not good at retaining such memories.

I'm sure it has something to do with my own personal "cloud."

Howeverm I have SO MUCH stuff to share today. Here's hoping something will be useful!

Blog Linkage - Go to www.thenester.com on a regular basis during the next few weeks and enjoy the Fall Tour she hosts every year. At the bottom of her post, there will be several more blogs you can click on and visit to see other fall decorating ideas. Just beautiful!

Quotable Quotes - "Parents really don't go on vacation. They just take care of their kids in a different city." Anonymous... AND SO TRUE!

Pinterest Stuff


Key Verse - Luke 2:1-7

You will need the following -

Tall clear glass or pitcher
Large clear plastic cup (1 for every two kids)
Small clear cups (4 for every two kids)
Dish soap
Vegetable oil

1. Pour a little bit of each liquid into four separate cups. (Again, you’ll need one set of four small clear cups per two kids.)

2. Mix it up.

Say: Jesus is the best gift ever. Sometimes other gifts might seem better.

Ask: What’s a gift someone might think is better than Jesus?

Say: But Jesus will always come out on top, because Jesus is the best gift ever.

Have kids form groups of two. Distribute supplies to each group. Hold up the vegetable oil and say: Let’s pretend this liquid represents Jesus. Pour it into a clear cup. Have one child in each group pour the vegetable oil into their cup.

Ask: What do you think will happen if we pour another liquid in the cup?

Have another child in each group choose a second cup to pour into the cup. The vegetable oil will rise to the top. (It may take a few seconds.)

Continue taking turns until everyone has poured the liquids into the cup. Regardless of the order you pour things, it will end up in four distinct layers in this order (from top to bottom): vegetable oil, dish soap, milk, honey.

Ask: What do you think will happen if we pour all of our cups into the pitcher?

Have groups each pour their cups into the tall glass or pitcher. Within a few seconds, the oil will create its own layer on top. (The other layers may combine a bit, but the oil will remain separate.)

Ask: Why do you think the vegetable oil always stayed on top?

How can other people see that you think Jesus is the top gift?

Say: Sometimes people make Christmas wish lists, starting with the things they want the most. Those are probably really awesome gifts! But we’ve already gotten the best gift ever... Jesus! Any other gift will sink below him because he’s the best gift!

No matter how they mix the ingredients, the vegetable oil always rises to the top. In the same way, no matter what happens, Jesus always rises to the top! He is above all else! He is the best gift ever! After the kids have seen this on a small scale in their groups, they get a real big "wow" at the end when all the groups combine their already mixed ingredients into one big clear container and still, all the vegetable oil rises to the top! This is a great object lesson for kids as they learn to trust Jesus, rely on Him and truly believe that He is above all else!

Ten Family-Friendly Movies to Watch with Your Kids

The Red Balloon – A short film with no words, this 34-minute, enchanting, imaginative tale from 1956 about a balloon who befriends a little boy in Paris captivates children on every level and is a beautiful way to spend an evening together as a family. Great for the nights when Movie Nights start later than intended! Buy it, as it deserves a place on every Classic's shelf. Not rated. Buy it on Amazon.

Miracle Down Under – This is one of my absolute favorite films of all time, and we watch it at least once a year at Christmastime. It's the tender story of a family trying to make ends meet during a severe drought at Christmastime in Australia, and how young children learn what's truly important. This one is devilishly difficult to find, but it's worth every single penny when you do. Not rated. See it on Amazon.

A Little Princess – A film version of the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, this film follows a wealthy young girl who loses her fortune and her family. She is forced to live and work in grueling conditions, and yet doesn't lose her kindness and generosity towards others. This inspires an unexpected chain of events. The 1986 WonderWorks version of this film trumps all versions without question, but for some reason, it's very expensive on Amazon, so see if you can find it elsewhere first! Not rated. See it on Amazon.

March of the Penguins – What appears at first to be a documentary about the life cycle of Emperor penguins turns into a breathtaking love story that is bittersweet, gripping and engaging for kids of all ages. Rated G. Buy it on Amazon or watch it free with an Amazon Prime membership.

The Princess Bride – This may be the second-most quotable movie of all time, second only to Casablanca. This is a fantasy fairy tale at its cinematic best, exploring the ideas of loyalty, honor, valor and “true love.” We skip the Fire Swamp scene when watching this with our younger children, especially the one who is prone to vivid dreams, but overall, this can be safely watched with anyone over seven. Rated PG. Buy it on Amazon.

Cars – I love anything Pixar has made, as they are master storytellers, but I would wager that Cars is the best film they have made. It has soul and an honest-to-goodness moral, while allowing us a fantastic romp in the world of high-flying race cars. It's highly enjoyable and engaging for children and adults alike. Rated G. Buy it on Amazon or rent it.

Akeelah and the Bee – This is hands-down my FAVORITE film to watch as a family. Despite a few instances of coarse language, it is gritty and real and deep and sweet and utterly compelling. It tells the story of Akeelah, an 11-year-old girl from South Los Angeles and her journey to reach the national spelling bee. It highlights lessons of choosing compassion even when it's hard, friendship, diligence and perseverance. An added bonus is after seeing this film for the first time, our spelling-averse ten year-old suddenly “got” the reason we study spelling and she *asked* to dive deeper into our All About Spelling lessons. I'll take that any day. Rated PG. Buy it on Amazon or stream it.

Mary Poppins – Speaking of Oscars, this film had 13 Academy Award nominations in 1964 and won five, including Best Actress (Julie Andrews) and Best Original Song (“Chim Chim Cher-ee”). It's based loosely on the book by P. L. Travers, and the film's sweet storyline, coupled with Mary Poppins' seemingly magical abilities, has been a classic with kids since its original release more than 50 years ago. Rated G. Buy it on Amazon.

The Sound of Music – Again giving a nod to the Oscars, this film received ten Oscar nominations in 1965 and won five, including Best Picture and Best Music. Considering the film deals with the true story of a family that fled Austria as the Nazis were taking over in World War II, it's surprisingly light and heartfelt. I would consider it suitable for anyone over six, although you may want to preview the last scene ahead of time to approve it for your children. Rated G. Buy it on Amazon.

The Wizard of Oz – I list this 1939 classic only because it appears on EVERY list of “Movies Every Child Should Watch,” and because it's an absolute classic that has informed and shaped our culture. It's even listed by Common Sense Media as “one of the best family films ever made.” Not rated. Buy the movie on Amazon.

Anne of Green Gables – It's cheesy and departs wildly from the book by L. M. Montgomery, but this film is endearing and spunky and a Canadian classic. It may inspire a road trip to Prince Edward Island (be ye forewarned), and teaches some wonderful lessons about what makes a family and the blessings of good, hard work. Not rated. Buy it on Amazon.

And last but definitely not least...

Inside Out – Since I've mentioned classic Oscar-nominated films, I must mention one current nominee for 2016. This film beautifully deals with handling emotions through life's ups and downs. It's sweet and moving and endearing to kids of all ages. Rated G. Buy it on Amazon.

Surprises for Kids

1. Surprise them with a luxury bath. My daughter always envies when I have a cold drink in a fancy glass and have relaxing music when I take bath. When I did this to her, she melted. Yes, there were candles and then fancy rose lotions afterwards.

2. Surprise sleepover with a best friend. We plan a few days ahead and talk with a friend’s parents to see if they could just bring their daughter for a sleepover. Once they show up at the door, there is usually some crazy screaming and jumping up and down for a minute and a lot of laughter all night long. Best surprise ever!

3. “Kidnap” your child from school one day. I did this once, and we ended up at the bookstore reading books and drinking smoothies. It was a very memorable event.

4. Hide a sweet note under their pillow. I know my daughter always flips the pillow when she lays down to bed so she always finds finds my notes.

5. Stuff their pockets. Sometimes before we head to park or a playdate I put some tiny treats in their pockets. The surprised reactions/smiles on their faces when they feel something in their pockets in the middle of the park play when they get little hungry are priceless.

6. For no particular occasion, bake (or buy) a cake (or a cupcake). It doesn’t happen often in our house, but when it does, I love seeing the kids’ reaction when we bring in the cake after dinner. Especially when they don’t expect any kind of dessert that night. It’s like a birthday night!

7. Make a poster on their door. It could be anything from “reasons why I love you” to compliments and so on. They will be so surprised when they get home from school to see their door decorated with a huge poster.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Time Spent with Judith - Judith and I had a simple kind of day last week. It began with Story Time at our local library...

Miss Lucy is the best!

And ended with lunch with Pop at Chick-Fil-A and a good 30 minutes spent in the Play Area.

Simple, but good, fun was had by all!

RANDOMNESS #2 - WHEN YOU FALL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET LEAVING CHURCH BECAUSE YOU WALK UP INTO YOUR FLOWY PANTS LEG... A SAD, TRUE STORY (This story was first posted in August of 2017) - Yeah. So this happened a year ago.

You've heard the Bible verse, "Pride goeth before a fall," haven't you?

Well, if you were one of about a hundred or more people in the parking lot of Gardendale's First Baptist Church between the first and second service on a particular Sunday in 2017, I kinda supplied the visual for the verse...

If you know what I mean...

And I think you do.

Something you may or may not know about me... I am not necessarily a vain person. I mean, I have my good hair days and my bad hair days. I have outfits that look better on me than others. I try to look presentable and wear lipstick on more days than not.

I am, after all, a Southern girl born and raised, but all in all, I don't over-obsess when it comes to appearance.

In other words, I didn't think I was very prideful about my looks.

Until that fateful Sunday...

On that particular day, I wore my navy blue patterned flowy pants, my off-white silk flowy top and my big ol' navy blue and rhinestone studded necklace.

Also, my hair was exceptionally big and coiffed.

Remember when Justin Timberlake said he was "bringing sexy back?"

Well, I am single-handedly "bringing big hair back."

I am not ashamed to admit I liked the 80s. I thrived in the 80s. I miss the 80s.

Once big hair comes back, I am going to move on to start bringing back enormous shoulder pads...

And I'm starting a petition to get Designing Women on Netflix for the next generation of Southern women to watch and learn.

All of the above being said and recorded for posterity, I may or may not have looked at myself in the full-length bathroom mirror of Gardendale's First Baptist Church second floor bathroom after Sunday School and thought to myself, "Looking good, Enchanting! Looking good!" before meeting Mikie in the hallway and heading to our seats for the first service.

Yes. I know. Very, very prideful.

Not only was it a good service, but The Chick arrived home Saturday afternoon and was sitting with us, so I was feeling especially happy and bouncy.

In hindsight, I now know I was feeling much too bouncy, because in the parking lot of the church, crossing the street to get to my car, my right toe/shoe caught in the leg of my flowy pants.

I lurched forward, but caught myself. Mistakenly thinking I had gotten my toe/shoe OUT of the flowy pants, I took another little hop/step to make up for the slight trip/stumble.

The only thing worse than tripping/stumbling in the middle of the street in the church parking lot AND catching yourself, would have to be tripping/stumbling in the middle of the street in the church parking lot AND realizing you didn't catch yourself, but instead walked up your flowy pants leg two more steps...

And then falling in front of the cars coming to and leaving church (completely stopping traffic in two lanes) on your hands and knees.

And if that wasn't enough of a humiliation (and I'm assuming it wasn't enough because it just gets worse from here), I rolled over onto my back with my hands and legs up in the air...

And I rocked back and forth very turtle-like until Mikie put his hands under my arms and HOISTED me to my feet.

There was nothing left to do except dust myself off, and do the princess wave to all of the cars who were patiently waiting to park and/or leave the parking lot.

I did not limp to the car. I needed to limp, but I refused. When I see that in writing, I immediately start thinking to myself, "That was pretty prideful, too, wasn't it? Why not just admit one toe, two knees, my right wrist and elbow and the top of my left wrist were all scraped and bleeding? Not profusely bleeding you understand, but bleeding just the same."


That's a question for the therapist if I've ever heard one. I'll need to write that down in my handy-dandy notebook.

There isn't much left to say except if and when I wear flowy pants again, I will probably hold them up in front (not unlike a wedding dress) while walking to and from church or up and down steps.

Also, I seriously doubt if I will ever look in the full-length bathroom mirror of Gardendale's First Baptist Church second floor bathroom ever again.

Nor will I utter, "Looking good, Enchanting! Looking good!"

Mentally or verbally.

Heavy, heavy sigh.

I will end this little tale with two final words...


NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - I re-posted the above because last Sunday (13 months from the above-mentioned fall), I wore the SAME... EXACT... OUTFIT...

And while leaving the first service to go to my car...

As I was stepping onto the EXACT ROAD AS LAST YEAR...

The toe of my right shoe got caught in the left leg of my flowy pants.

I kid you not.

However, instead of trying to "correct" my misstep by falling face forward in the middle of the road, I froze, yelled and allowed Mikie to yank me back from sudden and certain death...

Or humiliation...

Or another scraped knee.

But definitely one of the three.

I'll end this post with the above pic...

The flowy pants are dead to me. So dead, I will not even donate them to a thrift store. They are garbage, and hopefully, they will never cause pain, blood loss or anxiety to anyone ever, ever again.

I'm also declaring that at the age of 57 (only three short years from 60), I'm about to purchase many, many leggings...

And return the new flare legged jeans I just purchased to wear with my fall clunky shoes. (That one's going to be hard because they are just about the cutest flare legged jeans I have ever seen in my life.)

It looks like 57 is going to be my best year yet!

Or not!

Only time will tell.

Don't worry. I'll keep you updated.

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the very near future.


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. I have just a couple more things I would like to comment upon...

1. Mikie and his friend, Bill, attended the Auburn game this past Saturday, and while it was a miserably hot game, they had a GREAT time. (And since it was a miserably hot game, I am forever indebted to Billy for taking the ticket, and thus, allowing me to stay home to enjoy my AC vent.) He's a good friend...

To both of us.

2. As the shirt clearly indicates, Judith is going to be a big sister.

My new title shall now be Nana to the Third Power!

I think I'm up for it!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Pioneer Woman Slow-Cooker Irish Oats, Pinterest Stuff (Family Friendly Movies that Help Build Character for the Little Ones, Character Building Movies For Ages 9 and Older, A Few More Fall Traditions) AND Massive Amounts of Randomness

Good Monday evening!

Okay. Regardless of the temp, I am feeling very autumnal. It is sad to me when I have to wear fall clothing in 98 degree weather, but that is part of the reality of living in the great state of Alabama.

Saturday while Judith and I were painting masterpieces in the driveway, I had to wear my Summer Rags...

And when I say "Summer Rags," I am referring to very wet washcloths (preferably stiff from being in the freezer for an hour or so) around my neck, in various and sundry places under my shirt and on the top of my head. Unfortunately, for anyone slow riding past my house on a very hot day, I am not kidding.

However, I once again digress.

The Pioneer Woman cooked these slow-cooker Irish oats the other day on her show, and it just seemed like the perfect fall breakfast. After the episode aired, I immediately went to the grocery store to purchase the necessary items and the very next day...


Hearty, filling and delicious. Three of my favorite "food" words.

The peaches are actually cooked overnight with the oats, and you just add almonds, coconut, raisins, blueberries, etc.

Personally, I add a handful of cold blueberries, toasted coconut, raisins and honey.

It makes a lot, but I didn't mind eating it for breakfast for an entire week.

I didn't mind one little "autumnal" bit!

Pioneer Woman Slow-Cooker Irish Oats

You will need the following:

4 cups frozen peach slices
2 cups steel-cut oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup flaked coconut
2 cups golden raisins
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup fresh blueberries
Honey, for drizzling

1. Place the frozen peaches, oats, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and 8 cups water in the bowl of a slow cooker. Stir, set to low and cook for 6 to 8 hours or up to overnight.

2. Meanwhile, toast the sliced almonds and flaked coconut separately in dry nonstick skillets over medium heat, shaking the pans frequently to ensure an even toast, until golden and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool. Store, covered, until serving.

3. To serve, stir the raisins, milk and cream into the oat mixture. Spoon into bowls and garnish with the almonds, coconut, blueberries and a drizzle of honey.

LOVE this recipe!

Pinterest Stuff

Family Friendly Movies that Help Build Character for the Little Ones

Veggietales – G - Oldies, but goodies; this animated talking-vegetable series explores many wonderful life lessons and Bible stories. Many of these are free on Amazon prime.

Liberty’s Kids – G - History meets likable characters in this fun, animated series exploring early America. There are 40 episodes with an all-star cast including Liam Neeson, Ben Stiller, Billy Crystal, Walter Cronkite and more!

Cars – G - This Disney Pixar classic centers around a pompous race car, and how a humble little town changes his outlook on life. Speaking of which, all of the Pixar films are great family films that can be enjoyed by kids and their parents.

American Girl History Movies (Kit, Molly, Samantha, Felicity) – G - American Girl History Movies are packed full of wonderful lessons for young girls, plus are great intros to history!

The Emperor’s New Groove – G - This has always been one of my favorite movies. Kuzco is a self-centered emperor whose life gets turned around when he is turned into a llama by the evil Yzma who wants to take over the kingdom. With help from a humble peasant, he is determined to get himself changed back into a human and overthrow Yzma’s “reign.”

Meet the Robinsons – G - In this fantastic Disney flick, Lewis is a 12 year-old orphan with a brilliant scientific mind. One day, he gets inspiration to build The Memory Scanner, a device to let him see his birth mother, and potentially ask her not to give him up. Animation and acting are great, but the biggest take-away I got from this is the message... Keep Moving Forward. It does show how failing to do so can make you a miserable person. Brilliant message so many adults have yet to learn.

Valiant – G - Valiant is the first animated film I have seen with facts at the end. Set in 1944 before D-Day, this British Disney film is about Britain’s messenger pigeons during WWII. In the end, we learn pigeons played a bigger role in the war than horses, dogs or cats. Filled with adventure and some humor, it is a bit violent for a G-rated film, but it is definitely a great movie. There are a lot of WWII references that are used appropriately, but younger kids will not understand it.

Big Hero 6 – PG - Part Marvel comics, part Disney, part Anime, the themes of Big Hero 6 are family, friendship and working together.

Because of Winn-Dixie – G - AnnaSophia Robb stars as Opal, the daughter of a single-dad pastor. One day, she meets a stray dog, Winn-Dixie, that changes her summer drastically!

The Boxcar Children – G - The Boxcar Children was my favorite series growing up. Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny are orphans running away from the grandfather. Along the way, they find an old abandoned boxcar and call it home. I’m proud to say the movie did not disappoint. It closely matched the beloved book, and I felt it in no way was cheesy. The animation reminded me of a video game.

Inspiring Heroes - This Christian biographical series features famous people like Harriet Tubman, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and William Bradford.

The Torchligher’s Series – G - This Christian series features courageous men and women in history, and what they’ve accomplished. Heroes featured included Jim Elliot, William Booth, Corrie ten Boom, Amy Carmichael and John Bunyan. I’ve seen the Corrie ten Boom movie, and we quite enjoyed it. Many of these films are free on Amazon Prime.

Read It And Weep – G - Read It and Weep is a Disney Channel Original movie about a young girl whose private journal accidentally goes viral. It is a squeaky clean film about friendship.

Character Building Movies For Ages 9 and Older

These are generally good movies for the whole family, but may have themes not really appropriate for the super young ones!

The Prince of Egypt – PG - I can’t say I fully appreciated this movie until watching “The making of The Prince of Egypt.” Beautiful animation, fantastic voice actors and a stunning soundtrack. This is the story of Moses and his journey from the prince of Egypt to God’s leader for His chosen people.

Fly Away Home – G - Fly Away Home opens with young Amy and her mom riding happily in a car. Suddenly, the car crashes and soon her beloved mother is dead. Amy wakes up in the hospital to find her father (who she hasn’t seen since her parent’s divorce nine years ago). He is her guardian. Through love, patience and time, Amy and her father adopt an orphaned gaggle of geese, and come fall, are determined to bring them south by air.

Madison – PG - Based on a true story of hydroplanes in the little town of Madison, Indiana, this inspiring father-son tale shows the fruits of hard work and perseverance!

It’s a Wonderful Life – G - In this Christmas classic, George Bailey ponders what life would have been like if he was never born. His guardian angel appears and brings the question to life. Although it may be a bit slow for squirmy younger ones, it definitely is a fantastic and clean family film!

Woodlawn – PG - Inspired by a true story, this Christian football film tackles racism in the 1970s, and has strong messages of hope and faith. As a bonus, I was pleasantly surprised with the film quality and acting, which I thought were great!

When The Game Stands Tall – PG - When the Game Stands Tall is the opposite of most football movies you see; De La Selle High School has a record-breaking 151 consecutive wins, before losing miserably. It is Christian/Catholic based, and is not your typical “it’s not about winning” family sport flick. Instead, at its core is a coach who believes building character and teamwork is the most important.

Facing the Giants – PG - This feel-good Christian film is about a failing football coach and his journey through faith. Grant Taylor is a (six-year) failing football coach and a failed father (his wife cannot get pregnant). After revamping his attitude and overall strategy, he begins seeing positive results and learns a great lesson about trusting God!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – G - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! is about an eccentric inventor, his two kids, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy businessman, and a magic car!

Remember the Titans – PG - Denzel Washington stars in this incredible classic football film. The year is 1971. After leading his team to 15 winning seasons, football coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton) is demoted and replaced by a black coach, Herman Boone (Denzel Washington). These two men overcome their differences and turn a group of hostile young men into champions! A great film dealing with notable subjects.

Fiddler on the Roof – G - Traditions!! This classic musical revolves around Tevye, a poor Jewish milkman and his five daughters. A great story about love, traditions and ultimately, letting go.

Belle – PG - A young half-black, half-white woman faces much prejudice and change in upper-class 18th century England. Through much determination, she influences the British Empire’s stance on slavery. Best part? It’s also a true story!

I Am David – PG - Based on the Danish best selling novel, I Am David is the story of a 12 year-old boy who escapes a Stalinist labor camp. Purposefully, there is no sexual content, no profanity and very little violence. Even with its low budget, the acting is incredible, and it has many notable themes of courage, perseverance, faith, hope and love.

Pictures of Hollis Woods – PG - This Hallmark Hall of Fame film has the same feel-good, family feeling as most of Hallmark’s movies, but has a higher quality with an amazing plot and cast. Twelve year-old orphaned Hollis has known nothing but rejection and hurt all her life. When she does find a family where she feels she really belongs, tragedy strikes and once again Hollis runs from her past. It isn’t until she meets Josie, a kind, elderly widow, where she truly begins to heal. However, all too soon trouble begins again. What will Hollis do? This is based off the wonderful Newbery Honor book with the same name.

Gifted Hands – PG - Dr. Benjamin S. Carson grew up with the world stacked against him. He was poor, black and growing up in Detroit to a single mother with a third grade education. Through his mom’s hardworking determination and the grace of God, Carson went to Yale and became the first neurosurgeon to help successfully separate conjoined twins. Based off his incredible memoir, I felt this story did a pretty good job of converting Carson’s life to film.

One Night with the King – PG - “Perhaps you were born – for such a time as this.” Young Hadassah, a Jewish girl, turns into Queen Esther of Persia practically over night. Despite this, the evil Haman is plotting against her and her people. This is the Biblical story of Esther created beautifully!

The Sound of Music – G - Doe, a deer, a female deer! Julie Andrews stars as Maria von Trappe, a young, fun nun who, searching for adventure, becomes the governess to seven crazy children. This is an incredible classic that everyone needs to watch.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – PG - How could I forget this C. S. Lewis classic? Four British children (during WWII), enter a magic wardrobe and find themselves in a land called Narnia. Filled with adventure, faith, hope, love and lessons of good and evil, definitely a must-see for those old enough!

Front of the Class – PG - This Hallmark Hall of Fame film tells the true story of Brad Cohen, a young man who battles tourette’s syndrome and becomes a teacher! A great inspirational film!

Holes – PG - Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake for stealing a pair of shoes. (He did NOT commit this crime!) While there, he discovers the warden has a secret... buried treasure! This is based on a Newbery Winning book. There is a smidgen of profanity and a bit of violence to worry about, but overall, a great and fun family movie!

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - When the kids were growing up, this is exactly the kind of list I LOVED. Always check out a movie you've never heard of with someone you trust, or watch it alone before showing it to the kids.

A Few More Fall Traditions (to add to your list)

Make caramel apples
Visit a farm
Ride in a combine
Go to a farmers market
Ride horses
Make applesauce
Make your own Halloween costumes
Make a scarecrow
Halloween movie night
Visit a state park you've never been to before
Have a farm to table dinner

RANDOMNESS #1 - McWane with Little Man - Melia and I took RT to McWane Center Labor Day Weekend, and he played hard and fast!

Have I mentioned before how much he loves cars?

Have I?

I couldn't remember.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Labor Day with The Chick - Mike has always had big deadlines around Memorial Day and Labor Day, and has worked those two weekends/days ever since we've been married. Thus, we have never really celebrated these two holidays as a family.

That worked out okay this year because Roxie had some free time in Auburn, and I drove down to celebrate Labor Day with her!

A lovely time was had by all...

And when I say "all," I mostly mean me!

RANDOMNESS #3 - A Little More with Little Man - When RT visited last week, he watched Cars...

Which is something he always tries to do at least once during his busy day.

We did some artwork.

If you cannot tell by my poor drawing...

It's a car!

Also, I caught a glimpse of what he's going to look like when he's much older...

Perhaps leaning against his own car.

And a few seconds later, I saw this "not-quite-two" little guy standing like a "not-quite-two" little guy should stand!

No matter how he stands, he's a keeper.

RANDOMNESS #4 - Being Artsy with Judith - I gathered the easel, an entire roll of butcher paper, paint in her favorite colors (purple, pink with a little red and blue thrown in for good measure) and tons of wet rags, etc. to help with the clean up...

And I just let her go.

Unlike her Nana, she is VERY talented!

During clean-up, I found the least harmful hose setting...


It's refreshing, AND you don't have to have CPR if it shoots straight up your nose!

Or my nose, for that matter.

Little Chick's aim is not very good yet!

Okay. That is it for now. In a few days, I'll be back with much, much more!


The Enchanting Belinda
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