Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Sweet Potato Crescent Bites, Pinterest Stuff (16 Experiences to Give Your Kids), A Zip Lining Story AND Let's Play

Good Tuesday morn!

Ready for a really easy, really delicious sweet potato recipe? Are ya?

This popped up on my Facebook feed last week, and Roxie made it for our Sunday Thanksgiving this past weekend. Try it! You'll like it!

Sweet Potato Crescent Bites

You will need the following:

3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/4 pound), scrubbed clean
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (8 ounces) refrigerated Crescent Rolls
3/4 cup mini marshmallows
24 whole pecans
1 tablespoon maple syrup, for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.

2. Pierce sweet potatoes 3 to 4 times with a fork. Place potato on microwave-safe plate and microwave 15 minutes. If your potatoes aren't fork tender after 15 minutes, continue microwaving in 30 second increments.

3. When potatoes are cooked through, scrape filling into a large bowl and discard skin. Using a potato masher or fork, mash sweet potatoes until smooth.

4. Add brown sugar, heavy cream, cinnamon, vanilla and salt and whisk to combine.

5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out crescent dough and pinch together seams. Cut into 24 squares and place in muffin tin cups.

6. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of sweet potato mixture into each crescent square, then top with mini marshmallows and bake until crescent pastry is golden, about 15 minutes.

7. Add a pecan to the center of each bite and bake 5 minutes more. If using, brush pecans with maple syrup before serving.

Pinterest Stuff NOTE FROM THE ENCHANTING BELINDA - One of my favorite parts of Pinterest would have to be the multitude of lists it offers for EVERY subject. Lists are a wonderful thing!

16 Experiences To Give Your Kids

1. Amusement Park Tickets - My kids get tickets to our local amusement park each year from their Grandma, and it has given them more memories than any toy ever will.

2. Movie Tickets - A favorite family memory of ours is going to the movies. Who doesn’t love popcorn and candy and a big screen? (Did you know you could buy movie gift certificates right on Amazon?)

3. Sporting Event Tickets - We are a sports-loving family. If your kids love watching, go see it in person!

4. Pottery Painting - We did this over the summer and the kids are still so proud of their masterpieces.

5. Spa Day - My little girl adores heading to the salon for a hair cut and big “princess curls."

6. New Family Friend (dog, cat, lizard, hamster) - I know you’ve got to have a certain mindset to do this, but our new family puppy has been so good for our kids. All the memories of growing up next to a puppy are priceless.

7. Dress-Up Clothes - My little ones are growing up together with fond memories of dressing up together and putting on hilarious shows. There is nothing more special in their childhood than them giggling in their bedroom together, picking out different things to wear and what song to sing next.

8. Music Lessons - Let your kids explore their creative side with piano lessons, guitar lessons or any other fun instrument they want to learn.

9. Trampoline - If there is one thing we have bought that has given our kids tons of laughs, fun and exercise, it’s our trampoline.

10. Pool Passes - We love spending summers at the pool. Not just during summer, but during the winter at the local YMCA indoor pool.

11. Zoo Passes - Visiting a zoo during the year and seeing your favorite animals up close is so fun.

12. Trampoline Parks Passes - Any jumping place is a blast for kids.

13. Vacations - Big family vacations are my most favorite childhood memories. However, the small vacations are just as good! Find some places within a couple hours and find all they have to offer. (If you want to help your family out, grab a Southwest Airlines gift certificate or one for Hotels.com they can save).

14. Rent a Boat - Spending a day or two out on the water will fill the kids with so much joy and memories.

15. Train, Hot Air Balloon or Helicopter Ride - Self-explanatory!

16. Items for a New Family Hobby - Get supplies for something the whole family can do together all the time! Maybe binoculars for bird watching, bikes for bike riding or a compass for geo-caching. The opportunities are endless!

RANDOMNESS #1 - A Zip Lining Story... (or should I say THE Zip Lining Story) - A couple of weeks ago, Roxie and I went on our first ever Mother/Daughter Trip. We spend a good amount of time together, but a one-on-one weekend getaway had never really been attempted. I was a little apprehensive as to how the weekend would unfold. I didn't know if my "old woman ways" would get on her very last nerve. I hoped it wouldn't be an issue, but those of you who have been around me know my "ways" (while charming and funny to me) can cause others to openly gasp and gape.

That's right. I said it. Gasp AND gape.

I had no doubt I would love every minute of the weekend. The Chick is a lot of fun and good company 92 percent of the time.

Of the two of us, I was most definitely the "wild card."

All of the above being taken into consideration, I had to plan carefully. In order for this trip to be successful, it had to meet the following criteria...

1. It had to take place in the Fall. Hot, hot weather tends to make my "old woman ways" more pronounced. Plus, I look better in Fall clothing. It's the whole bulky sweater vs. bathing suit scenario. Bulky sweater wins every single time.

2. It had to be less than three hours away from home. Neither one of us felt like driving ALL DAY LONG! We wanted to get there!

3. Good food was also a must.

4. As was a fireplace AND a big, cozy bed.

5. And finally, we needed a fun-to-both-of-us activity.

As some of you may recall, Roxie jumped out of a flying airplane, swam with great white sharks and seals AND bungee jumped off the highest "bungee jumping off" bridge in the world this past summer. I wasn't trying to "beat" those moments because that would have been impossible.

But I did think long and hard about this specific part of the trip, because when it was all said and done, the activity was going to be the memory we both would carry away from our trip. Not the fireplace, bed or food.


It would be that all-important activity a 57 year-old woman and 22 year-old daredevil could agree upon. Not so tame as to bore the 22 year-old, but not so dangerous as to break any 57 year-old bones.

That's when it hit me. I had always wanted to zip line!

And when I Googled "zip lining resorts" a place called Banning Mills, Georgia popped up on my computer screen. Not only did it have world-class zip lines, but it had good food, a fireplace AND a big, cozy bed.

I checked with Roxie, made the reservations and could hardly wait until November 10 when we were scheduled to embark on this new-to-us journey. We arrived after dark Friday night, so we weren't able to check out our surroundings very well. Our room overlooking a large creek was rustic and super clean. The main lodge was beautiful.

And our zip lining experience was set to begin at 9:30 sharp the next morning.

Roxie was excited, but I was becoming more and more anxious.

By the time Saturday morning arrived, I had left "anxiety" and had moved quickly to the "terror" portion of the trip.

By the time breakfast was over and Roxie and I were instructed to head over to the official Zip Lining Class, "terror" became "acute deafness." While I nodded and repeated everything I was asked during the class, I knew I was retaining NOTHING.

The instructors then told us step-by-step how to put on our harness, helmet, gloves, etc. and when they came around to check, I discovered I had done everything correctly because they cleared me for take-off... so to speak.

During our hike to the 100-foot tower (which, by the way, had no working elevator), "acute deafness" turned into "dry mouth" and "numbness in the extremities."

Roxie and I climbed the tower and then crossed a very unevenly built bridge. (I don't want to exaggerate this point. The bridge was safe in that it was very sturdy AND we were hooked onto a zip line the entire time for safety sake. However, it was definitely built to move and sway. Toward the end of the bridge, it went almost straight up a tree, but it wasn't ladder-like because we couldn't bend down and climb like a ladder. We had to hold onto the wires and climb until a guide could grab us and hoist us onto the platform.)

I'll be honest with you. I don't personally know of a 57 year-old woman who wants to be hoisted by anyone EVER in front of anyone EVER!

I am no exception.

You will see a picture below of about one-fourth of the bridge.

Thankfully, the Level 1 Course had only two bridges (one short and one very long) and one tower. If we had added the Level 2 Course on top of the Level 1 Course, there would have been extra towers and a total of SIX bridges.

Just so you know, I was limp after conquering the bridge and we still had not zip lined. Also, just so you know, The Chick was surprised at how difficult the bridge was, too, so it wasn't just little ol' me.

As I stood on the platform mentally preparing for my first of nine zip lines, one of our guides announced, "That was the hardest part of the course. Now we're going to have fun!"

Relief flooded over me.

Don't get me wrong.

There was absolutely no doubt in my mind zip lining was not going to end well for The Enchanting Belinda, but we had come for an adventure and NOTHING was going to stop us from having one...

A great one!

There is more to this story, but time is of the essence this week, so I am going to ask you to be satisfied with the above for just a few more days.

I haven't even begun to talk about the guides (two of my favorite people on the planet now), the food or the final overall rating of our trip...

So please enjoy the pics and wait a few days more for the rest of the story!

Roxie loved the giant leaves...

As you can tell from these three (out of 132) pics.

Absolutely loved.

Isn't she lovely?

No need to respond.

I already know the answer.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Let's Play - Melia was off work for Veteran's Day, so she and I took RT and Judith to Let's Play for a few hours thinking it would be a fun way for them to burn energy on a cold, wet November day, AND it wouldn't be very crowded.

At least we were right about the burning energy part.

RT enjoys taking the occasional "rest" break here and there...

But don't we all?

This was one of their favorite places on this particular day. You climb in the padded circle, brace yourself and wait as it slowly turns.

RT joined Judith after a few seconds of watching and decided he liked the padded circle.

He liked it very much.

Please notice the "big" kid leaning against the circle.

Okay. Now you'll see two "big" kids, one on either side of the padded circle.

What you cannot see is the "big" kids bending over and talking to Judith and RT, three, four and then five times.

As best I could tell, they were trying to convince the little guys it was their turn in the padded circle.

The Grand-Tots were not intimidated in the least and stayed in the padded circle for a couple more minutes before moving on to the next play area.

Had they stayed in the circle an unusually long period of time?

Nope. Barely three minutes total.

Did the big kids enjoy the padded circle when the time came for them to play in it?

Nope. They were WAY too big.

And just a reminder...

I am a lover of all kids (big and small).

The older guys weren't mean. I just told the story because I enjoyed how RT and Judith handled the situation all by themselves.

The way both of them tuned out the bigger kids was epic.

They are going to be great teenagers one day!

I hope you and yours have a most wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Talk to you soon!


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Hope these little tidbits taken from Facebook/Instagram/Church Signs, etc. will make you smile!

"Two year-old referred to her coat pockets as 'snack holes, and that is what I shall forever call them."

"I have a bumper sticker that says, 'Honk if you think I'm sexy.' Then I just sit at green lights until I feel better about myself."

Sunday, November 11, 2018

An Exercise Story, Melia's Birthday, RT and a Fall Day, Judith and a Fall Day AND A "NEXT POST TEASER"

Good Monday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - An Exercise Story - This was first posted NOVEMBER 22, 2013, but because of something I did this past weekend (that I will talk about NEXT POST), I wanted to remind you exactly where me and my body stand on the subject of EXERCISE!

I don't know if I've told you this already, but I am now a member of a gym.

I know.

It felt awkward just typing it.

My Body Flow/Body Pump teacher moved from the Civic Center to a local gym to teach the classes I've been sporadically attending the last couple of years, so I followed her.

While I love my Body Flow/Body Pump teacher (one of the most amazing, interesting women you would ever want to meet), you can visibly tell I am out of my comfort zone when I walk through the door.

I don't belong.

I am in the minority.

I am a "normal" 52 year-old woman in a sea of "not-so-normal" hard bodies.

But because I am 52 years-old, I decided a few years back not to be intimidated by stuff that doesn't particularly pertain to me and mine any longer.

Which means, when these "not-so-normal" hard bodies have three giant nine-plus pound babies and live to tell about it 22 years later, then we'll compare Body Mass Index numbers and Body Measurements, etc.

Not today.

Not tomorrow.

Not ever, really.

Because by the time the hard bodies reach 52 years of age, I am pretty sure I will have retired from the gym.

That's my introduction to Randomness #1 today. You will find the actual Randomness below!

During Body Flow Class Tuesday, we were instructed to lie on our stomachs on the floor.

Put our arms behind us.

Lift our heads and shoulders.

Reach and hold our right ankle with our right hand, and our left ankle with our left hand.

When this position was achieved, we were told to pull our upper body up even more while holding onto our ankles.

Our stomachs were still on the ground.

I describe this to you because I want you to picture it in your head.

This is not a natural human position.


In any circumstance... whatsoever... as long as we all shall live.

The closest I can come to ever having seen it before is when someone sky dives and they "assume the sky-diving position."

And even then, those people are not holding their ankles.

Sorry. I digress.

My body rejected the position within 15 seconds, and I felt my left ankle slipping out of my left hand.

As my ankle freed itself from my hand, for some unknown reason, my brain told my hand to grab it!

"No matter what happens, GRAB THAT ANKLE," my brain said.

So I twisted and contorted my body trying to re-grab my ankle.

But my ankle was having none of it. It was free. It wasn't about to be captured and pulled over the top of my head again.

No, sir.

As you can imagine, I was now in a great deal of pain.

Pain from my foot which hit the floor like a brick when released.

Pain from my shoulder and neck from trying to re-grab my wayward ankle.

Pain from the right side of my body because my left side had rebelled... and kind of run away.

Pain from my face when I released my right ankle and just let everything HIT THE FLOOR.

I've had to accept some hard facts the last few weeks.

My body no longer flows.

It lurches, creaks, pops and sometimes makes noises I can no longer identify.

I informed Mike, "I think I pulled the left of me."

"What does that mean? 'I pulled the left of me.' What part of the left of you?"

"All of the left of me. And get this. I think the right of me is having sympathy pains."

He told me to take two Advil and call him in the morning.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Melia's Birthday - My children, old and new, are aging gracefully, I think. Melia turned 27 this past week, which gave all of us a reason to eat cake...


I wish I hadn't left the lovely box of red matches in the picture, but the reality is I did.


RT is a huge lover of all things "cake," and when the serving of the cake is finished, he doesn't quite understand.

In this picture, it is obvious he is saying, "I am willing to smile for a picture, but then we'll have more cake. Right?"

He gets more like his Nana every day.

RANDOMNESS #3 - RT and a Fall Day - If anyone ever asks you, "What is the best thing about owning a new car?" remember the answer is NOT driving.

The correct answer is getting in...

Getting out...

Getting in again...

Getting out again...

Pulling the new car...

And finally, enjoying a nice icy beverage.

It is most definitely NOT the driving!

RANDOMNESS #4 - Judith and a Fall Day - And if anyone ever asks you, "What is the best thing about horseback riding in the fall?" remember the answer is NOT riding.

The correct answer is braiding the mane of the horse...

Standing proudly beside the horse...

And picking bark off of a nearby tree...

For 20 minutes.

It is most definitely NOT the riding.

I hope y'all have a wonderful Monday. I will be back sooner than normal to share a Mother/Daughter Adventure Roxie and I had this past weekend. Here are some pics to keep you interested!

Just so you know, there is a story or two included with the rest of the pics.


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Here are a couple more amusing-to-me tidbits I ran across this past week.

"Next week has been exhausting."

"Last weekend, the time went back one hour. That meant you got an extra hour of... NOTHING! You got nothing! You're a parent!"

Friday, November 2, 2018

Sheet Pan Sesame Chicken and Veggies, Pinterest Stuff (Ten Ways to Raise a Helper), Scootering, Tate Farms, Trunk or Treat, RT's Fall Party AND A Little Huddle House Dinner on Halloween Evening

Good Saturday morning!

Sheet Pan Sesame Chicken and Veggies

You will need the following:

1 pound chicken tenderloin
1 large head broccoli
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ginger
2 red bell peppers
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 tablespoon chili sauce
2 taplespoons honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Sesame seeds

1. Cut chicken tenders into 2” chunks.

2. In small bowl, mix garlic, ginger, chili sauce, honey and soy sauce.

3. Chop broccoli, carrots and red peppers into small 1" pieces. Put chicken and vegetables in a large bowl.

4. Pour sauce mixture on top of chicken and vegetables and coat everything well.

5. Pour into 9” x 13” sheet pan and spread out evenly.

6. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes (uncovered).

Serve over rice.

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - Guys, this is really good. I've made it twice in the last two weeks, and I'm tempted to make it again this weekend. Try it! I think you'll like it.

Pinterest Stuff

Ten Ways to Raise a Helper

1. Position your child so they can watch you work from the time they are infants.

Children learn everything by watching the people around them from the time they are born. This is why it is super important to work where they can see it.

I know, I know. It is so much easier to work when they are sleeping or gone. I totally get it.

Would it help if I told you I felt the same way and often avoided work when my daughter was young? One of my biggest mistakes.

Children need to see you work around the house or they will not know what is expected of them in the future. It may seem trivial, but I assure you it’s not.

2. Show children how you want work to be done.

Show your children how you want things to be done. Children learn best when they are shown, not lectured.

3. Complete the task EXACTLY as you would like it to be done.

Children are imitative creatures.

Like it or not, your children will show you how good your example was... or wasn’t.

They don’t know how you meant to do it, or how you wanted to do it. They only know what they saw.

4. Allow your child to start helping when they start walking.

As soon as a child can move around on their own they can help. Trust me. It’s all they want to do.

Your children want to do what you do. They have been watching you their whole life and they cannot wait to get started!

When you allow children to help from the very beginning, it becomes a part of them. Helping becomes a habit. It becomes their norm.

Find simple tasks they can do to help and allow them to imitate you in whatever way they can. This is how learning happens and how you raise a helper!

5. Allow your child to help whenever they want to even if it slows you down.

Whatever you do, do not discourage an eager worker.

It doesn’t take long to teach a child you don’t want them to help. I’ll be honest. Working with your child when they are young can be tough. It can be downright painful at times. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to get my daughter out of the way so I could get things done.

Of course, there will be times we cannot include our children. Do your best to handle it gracefully.

6. Invite and allow.

Simply invite and allow your young child to help. If your child is not interested, no problem.

No pushing, forcing or shaming.

If young children don’t want to help, let them come and go as they please. They will eventually find something to do on their own.

This is a win, win, win situation. Your children will learn from watching, helping or figure out how to entertain themselves. You’ve got nothing to lose!

Whatever you do, don’t stop working because they don’t want to help. Also, don’t ignore them for hours and hours while you work either. Find the balance and you can’t go wrong.

7. Use kind words.

What we say and how we say it matters. Our children want to please us. Watch your language while they are helping, and be careful not to bruise their self-esteem with harsh words.

8. Guide and encourage your children as they work.

Help children learn to help you by offering your support when needed, but please do not do it for them.

9. Step in to help only when needed.

Unless there is a safety issue, allow your child to struggle and figure things out on their own whenever possible. Don’t help your child unless they absolutely need it.

When you do things for your child, you teach them you do it better than they can. Your child will continue to let you do everything for them when you teach this. Why should they bother when the parent can do it better?

Each time you do something for a child they can do themselves, you limit your child and increase your workload. Allow children to gain mastery by figuring things out on their own.

10. Teach children mistakes are opportunities to learn.

This one has more to do with our example than our words. We need to show our children how to admit it when we’ve made a mistake, learn from our mistakes, accept our faults and move on.

We do this every single day. Our children are watching our every move and mirroring what they learn.

Everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes we get angry about them. How we recover from our mistakes is what makes the difference in the eyes of our children.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Scootering - I've been noticing the toddler scooters for quite a while now, and I decided to purchase one to go along with our outside riding toys. Judith tried it out first. Within 15 minutes, she was a pro!

Safety first. Of course we put a big ol' Paw Patrol helmet on her little head.

However, the discomfort of the chin strap AND the unusually slow and steady scootering that took place the first ten minutes made us feel comfortable enough to remove the helmet until she "got it."

For example, when the time came to turn the scooter, Judith thought it was much easier just to hoist it over her head and place it on the ground pointed in the direction she wanted to scoot to next.

Don't worry. By the end of the lesson, it was time for the helmet to go back on top of the curly head because lack of speed was no longer the issue.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Tate Farms - This was our third year to go to Tate Farms in Huntsville with the Hartselle Faulkners. It's a lovely place to spend an autumnal afternoon!

As soon as we got all of the photo ops out of the way, it was time to play!

She could have jumped on the bouncy thingy ALL...



But that would have meant she would have missed the giant slide...

The swings...

The petting farm...

The tractor train...

Playing in the corn crib...

And picking out the perfect pumpkin in the giant field.

Maybe next year they'll turn the silos into a big B & B, and we will just spend the night and make sure we get ALL of our bouncy thingy energy out over a two-day stay.

I think I'll contact the Tates so they can get going on that little project!

RANDOMNESS #3 - Trunk or Treat - Last Sunday night, I stopped by RT's first Trunk or Treat. The Chick-Fil-A theme was a favorite, of course.

This picture courtesy of Mimi (Melia's Mom)!

RANDOMNESS #4 - Fall Party - I was able to attend RT's Fall Party at school. After the eating of the cake, all of the kids went outside, sat on the grass...

And the parents/grandparents sprayed them with Silly String.

I waited to see how RT reacted before I squirted, and I'm glad I did.

As soon as the unknown substance started flying around and landing on the kids, he quickly vacated the area.

I think it is safe to say the eating of the cake was his favorite part.

Just a little something we have in common.

RANDOMNESS #5 - A Little Huddle House Dinner on Halloween Evening - Mike was out of town for a few days this past week. He landed at the airport at 4:20 p.m. Halloween afternoon, drove home to pick me up at 4:50 and we headed to Hartselle to collect candy with Judith. Long story short...

There was an accident on the interstate, and we ended up missing the candy collection, but we were just in time to meet them for a Huddle House dinner at their Exit.

Judith had received (and eaten) a lot of candy prior to our arrival. Then she had pancakes and syrup for dinner (emphasis on syrup).

In case you've never seen a sugar crash before, here you go!


Her tongue is blue which indicates a sucker might have been eaten.

Halloween is officially over, and Thanksgiving will be here before you know it, but October certainly was a fun month!

Please have a wonderful weekend! I will try to do the same, and I'll be back soon with more FALL stuff, I am sure.


The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Here are a few more things I found amusing this past week. I will not take offense if you do not agree...

"I used to watch horror movies. Now I just watch my kids eat crackers right after I vacuum."

"Life is too short for fake butter, fake cheese or fake people."

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - I'm not sure about the "fake people" part, but I totally agree about "fake butter" and "fake cheese." Life is MUCH too short.
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