Roxie and Mikie

Roxie and Mikie

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Quotable Quotes, Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders, Pinterest Stuff (You've Been Egged), More Camping Stuff, Cousin Day (Story Time at the Library and Another Play Date with the Refrigerator Box) AND Fancy Daddy/Daughter Date #17

Good Tuesday morning!

So sorry to report St. Patrick's Day "stuff" did not happen as planned at Nana's house, but only because other "stuff" was enjoyed so very, very much...

The refrigerator box.

I'm talking about the refrigerator box.

It will be a miracle if the box makes it through a fourth day of play, but here's hoping!

The above being said, let us move on to the next holiday...

Easter.

I found a cute Pinterest idea (see below), and I'm sharing it with you today so you have time to plan ahead.

But first...

Quotable Quote

"When wealth is lost; nothing is lost.
When health is lost; something is lost.
When character is lost; all is lost." Billy Graham

Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders

You will need the following:

1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders (about 10 chicken tenders)
10 slices bacon
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and top with cooking rack.

2. In a shallow dish, combine brown sugar and chili powder.

3. Wrap each chicken tender with one slice of bacon.

4. Coat bacon-wrapped chicken tenders with the brown sugar and chili powder mixture. Place on baking sheet.

5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until bacon is crisp.

Pinterest Stuff

You've Been Egged

On a piece of paper, type out or print the following:

YOU'VE BEEN EGGED!

There are 12 eggs hidden in your yard!

Enjoy the hunt, but don't be discouraged when you find the empty egg. It is a simple reminder of Jesus' empty tomb.

HE IS RISEN!

You will need to hide 12 plastic eggs in the front yard of a friend or neighbor (who have small children) very quietly after dark one night. All of the eggs should have something hidden inside (candy, stickers, coin, etc.) EXCEPT for the one empty egg.

Before leaving the house, QUIETLY tape the piece of paper with the instructions onto the front door.

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - This is actually shown on an 8 1/2" x 11" egg-shaped piece of colored paper, but I think it would be cute just typed out on a regular piece of paper and glued to one of the colorful egg placemats they sell at The Dollar Tree.

ANOTHER NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - I also think doing this on a Friday night might be a good time because everyone wouldn't be getting up and heading out to work, school, church, etc. They would have a few minutes on a Saturday morning to actually enjoy the surprise!

RANDOMNESS #1 - What do I look for in a good State Park? - This will be the last of the camping stories/info for a while. I'm going to leave you with just a few helpful tips and a basic supply list for getting started on your very first camping trip.

Do you know how real estate agents will tell you the three most important things to look for in real estate are LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION? I bet you know what I'm going to say before I even type it... BATHHOUSE, BATHHOUSE, BATHHOUSE!

Really, everyone is going to look for different things. We like nice, shady wooded areas. We always like to go somewhere near a lake. And we do want to go somewhere that has fairly decent bathhouses. If the bathhouse is not good, we will not be going back. That's what is called a deal breaker.

You'll just have to decide what's important to your family. Do you have a boat? Do you like to fish? Do you love to hike? Do you want to be near a city with restaurants and shopping? Do you want to be close to home in case of inclement weather? Do you want a campground that has a nice playground for the little ones?

After you answer those questions, start talking to people and checking on the campgrounds near your home. You'll make some mistakes, but eventually you'll find one that will probably become your favorite. Again, while you are looking for YOUR campground, flexibility is key.

Here's the list to get you started...

Complete Guide to Summer Camping

Air Mattress or Camp Pad
Camera and Film
Camp Stove
Coffee Pot
Compass
Cooking Utensils
Cooler (2) One for Food; One for Drinks
Cots
Daypack or Fannypack
Dishpan and Pot Scrubber
Eating Utensils
First Aid Kit
Flares/Mirror (We've never had to use flares. We're not so adventurous we would get lost in the woods!)
Flashlight for Each Camper
Folding Chair or Stool
Fuel for Stoves and Lanterns
Games and Books
Griddle
Ground Cloth or Tarp
Hand Axe or Saw (I didn't have time to tell you the axe story, did I? Hmmm. Maybe another time!)
Ice
Insect Repellent
Jug of Water
Knife
Lantern
Lighter or Matches
Mantles for Lanterns
Maps
Paper Towels
Plastic Zip Bags
Radio and Batteries
Rope, Cord or Wire
Small Folding Shovel (For burying dead fish!)
Sleeping Bags
Soap
Sunscreen
Tablecloth
Tent
Tool Kit, Hammer, Mallet
Toilet Paper
Trash Bags
Water Purifying System (We use the old fashioned water bottle.)
Whistle (DO NOT give your child a whistle in a CAMPGROUND. The other campers will do bodily harm to a kid riding a bike or a scooter tooting a whistle all day. The whistle is for hiking use only.)

RANDOMNESS #2 - Cousin Day, Story Time at the Library AND Another Play Date with the Refrigerator Box - It's the simple things in life...


Walking hand-in-hand to the Toddler Story Time with your cousin...




Eating at Chick-Fil-A and then playing in the indoor playground for 20 to 30 minutes...


Beating the new workbench toy as hard as you possibly can (while making as much noise as you possibly can) with the wooden hammer...




And playing with Pop and the refrigerator box one more time before heading home for the night.

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - I'm not sure how it happened, but Judith was in the box without RT. RT wasn't thrilled about it, but I assure you, Pop promptly fixed the problem.

ANOTHER NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - You may be wondering where RT's pants are at this particular point in time. They were in the dryer for a 15-minute "freshen up"...

AND I don't want to talk about it right now.

Let's just say it was just a little traumatizing for Nana.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Fancy Daddy/Daughter Date #17 - Roxie and Mikie have been going on this yearly date for the past 17 years. It all began at our church's Daddy/Daughter Banquet and kept evolving when the Banquet Days ended.

This year they dined at Café Dupont.

They dressed up and ate and talked...

And forgot to bring a "to go" box home to The Enchanting Belinda.

That was not okay...

And I'm pretty sure they won't be forgetting the "to go" box next year.

By my account, that part of the date was an epic fail.

But everything else...

Not so much!

I hope you and yours have a wonderful week. It is very Spring-ish in Alabama today, and I am planning on enjoying it greatly!

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. This family is getting a new baby girl one day this week.


To say they were excited...


Would be an understatement!

And now, the obligatory "funnies"...

"This too shall pass. It may pass like a kidney stone... but it will pass."

"If you had to choose between eating tacos or being thin the rest of your life... would you choose hard or soft tacos?"

Friday, March 8, 2019

Slow Cooker Creamy Tuscan Chicken, Georgia Peach Cobbler, Pinterest Stuff and St. Patrick's Day, Camping Story #5 (One Fish, Red Fish, Two Fish, Dead Fish), Cousin Day and the Refrigerator Box AND A Little Update

Good Saturday morning!

I've been cooking this past week, and below are the recipes I tried and liked!

Slow Cooker Creamy Tuscan Chicken

You will need the following ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
2 (15-ounce) jars Alfredo sauce with roasted garlic
2 (3-ounce) packages slivered sun-dried tomatoes (NOT packaged in oil)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach leaves

1. Melt butter over medium-high heat in a nonstick pan. Season chicken with salt and peppers. Add chicken to pan and cook until browned on both sides.

2. Place chicken in a lightly greased 6-quart slow cooker.

3. In a medium bowl mix together Alfredo sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes.

4. Pour mixture over chicken. Cover slow cooker and cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours.

5. Open slow cooker, mix in spinach. Cover and cook 5 more minutes. Serve.

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - The next time I make this, I will use 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. The heat is okay for adults, but if you are feeding children, it is a little too hot.

Georgia Peach Cobbler

You will need the following ingredients:

3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup, plus 1/4 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 can (28 ounces) sliced peaches, undrained

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8" x 11" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, coarsely mix 3/4 cup of the sugar, flour and 1/4 cup melted butter together. Sprinkle about one-third of this mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.

3. Add the peaches and juice. (If the juice from the peaches does not cover the peaches, add a small amount of water just to cover the peaches. Too little liquid will make the cobbler dry. Too much liquid will make it soupy.)

4. Top the peaches with the remaining sugar/flour mixture. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the remaining 1/4 cup butter.

5. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Serve hot!

NOTE - Fresh peaches can be used. When using fresh peaches, peel and slice them, sprinkling the slices with an additional 1/2 cup sugar. Refrigerate them for 2 to 3 hours before using.

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - I have used several different cobbler recipes over the years, and Mike declared this one to be outstanding. For whatever reason, this is now my cobbler recipe of choice.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Pinterest Stuff and St. Patrick's Day - I just checked my St. Patrick's Day Pinterest Board, and I want you to know I have several "activities/things" I am going to be trying with the Grand-Tots some time in the next ten or so days.

I think last year I baked Minty Shamrock Brownie Bites, and while they were very good, I'm thinking maybe something a little more fun for the four-and-under crowd this year.

For some unknown reason I cannot remember, I pinned a kabob skewer recipe...

One pickled brussels sprout
One folded up slice of pastrami
One "mini" whole pickle
Two squares of white cheddar cheese (one on each end of the skewer)

Honestly, it must have struck me as funny at the time because no one who has ever been in my house would willingly eat a pickled brussels sprout.

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - Yeah.

Don't bother me next week.

I'm gonna be pickling!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Camping Story #5 - One Fish, Red Fish, Two Fish, Dead Fish

Ahh, Guntersville. Our favorite campground. Familiar, familiar, familiar. We even got in our regular Section... close enough to see the lake and enjoy the benefits thereof, but even closer to the bathhouse!

We had gone camping with other families from our church, and we were busy just watching kids on bikes, kids on scooters, kids playing ball, kids walking along the lake borders, kids getting really, really dirty... you get the picture. Kids having a ball!

As always, our attention was mainly on the now five year-olds as they went hither and yon. (Have you noticed the more familiar a child becomes with a place, the more courageous they are exploring said place? That's what we were having to really watch. We had been to Guntersville several times now, and the familiarity was almost against us... almost like being in our own backyard, but not child-proof in any way, shape or form.)

We could see their little heads as they picked up rocks and threw them into the water. We were pleased they were obeying and no wading was taking place... but we knew not to take our eyes off them.

There they went. They were bending over. I wondered what on earth... Between the two friends they carried something large and cumbersome. They would bend over and put it down and then get a new grip on it before hoisting it up between them again. They were walking toward us, and we waited to see what they had discovered!

Into the campsite they marched, red-cheeked and breathless, holding onto their prize. It was a huge (and I mean bigger than the pigeon that landed on my head) fish. And the problem they had carrying it had nothing to do with the fact it was fighting them or wiggling or anything normal like that. It was a huge dead fish. Ugh!

"Look what we caught!" they excitedly said.

"Well, I don't know if 'caught' is the right word," I said.

"We did catch it," they claimed indignantly.

Uh-oh. I had offended them. "Well, that is certainly one big, dead fish," I said smiling.

"We want to cook it and eat it," they demanded.

"Uh, I don't think so. I think there's a rule about eating a fish that's dead when you catch it," I said, hoping they would buy that one.

"Oh," they replied looking at their catch.

One of the dads came up at that point and walked back to the side of the lake with them to dispose of the giant dead fish. (But not before I got a picture of the two boys with their "catch" of the day.)

"Well, that was pretty gross," the moms all agreed.

We settled back into our positions of watching the kids all around us, and special attention was given to the five year-olds once again walking along the lake. There they went. They were bending over. They held something huge between them and started walking toward us. I didn't have to wonder what it was.

If possible, this dead fish was bigger than the first. "Guys, what did we say about picking up dead fish?" I asked.

"We're pretty sure this one was alive when we picked it up. Can we cook it and eat it?" was the sly reply.

"I'm no expert, boys, but that fish has been dead for quite a while. No, we will not cook it and eat it! Take it back, wash your hands UP TO YOUR ELBOWS and stop picking up dead fish!"

Now I was getting worried as to why so many dead fish were showing up on the banks of Lake Guntersville. That couldn't be good. (One more picture to remember the "Year of the Dead Fish" and off they went.)

Again, we settled down. I was staring a hole into the back of the five year-olds' heads. Hands on hips, they were in deep discussion. Glances over their shoulders to see if we were indeed watching them. More discussion. And then I guess it was more than their five year-old little bodies could take.

There they were. They were bending over. This time they came up easily and started the walk toward the camp... each holding one small dead fish. For them to be so forthcoming about turning themselves in, I knew the discussions had brought forth what they thought was a reasonable explanation as to why they had disobeyed us for a third time.

They stopped in front of me. I went ahead and took the picture before they started talking, because when you punish a child, it kind of takes away from it if you start posing them right after you lower the boom.

"We just wanted to know what the difference is in catching the fish with our hands, and taking a fishing pole and catching them with that? The fish are going to die right after we get them out of the water anyway, right?"

Good one. "Yes. That's right. But for fish to be floating on top of the water at the edge of the lake means something is wrong with them. They could be sick or something, because a normal fish does not float on top of the water at the edge of the lake." Could I make myself more clear!

"So you're saying we can't eat these fish because they were sick before they died?" one of them asked.

"Yes! Yes! These are not healthy fish! This is not a healthy hobby! This is not like fishing with a pole from the dock! This is bad!" They were finally getting it.

They dropped the fish like they were poison. Since I thought the point had been made, I didn't want them to pick them back up and take them back to the lake. (I'd get Mikie to do that!) But I did tell them once again to wash their hands UP TO THEIR ELBOWS and never touch another dead fish again.

Communication is so important in parenting, isn't it? However, when I got the pictures back, I gave a set to each one. They were pretty proud of the giant fish they had "caught." I think they were much bigger than they remembered.

And after years and years of fishing, Josh has never "caught" one as big as the one he picked up with his buddy those many years ago. It's kind of sad really.

Maybe I should have had them mounted!

RANDOMNESS #3 - Cousin Day and the Refrigerator Box - Seriously, is there anything more fun than a free, big, empty refrigerator box given to you by a friend?

Is there?






No.

No, there isn't.






After an hour or so of playing in the box, racing cars, building towers and running obstacle courses, they wanted to relax and watch a little PJ Masks before naptime.

And I was okay with that!

RANDOMNESS #4 - A Little Update - Just wanted to let you know what some of the adults in the family are up to these days...


These two just celebrated their third anniversary and are expecting Baby Eden any day now.


These two are on fancy date (without Little Man) as we speak.


This one is packing for a Spring Break trip to San Diego (leaving tomorrow).


And this guy just celebrated 31 years of wedded bliss with his beloved wife.

That would be me!

I will be back in a few days with more useful stuff for family and home. Until that time, I remain...

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

"We don't really rise and shine. We caffeinate and hope for the best." @veryjane

"My kids can't remember where they put their other shoe, yet they can remember that on January 25, 2015 at 2:30 I promised them candy and forgot to give it to them."

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Quotable Quotes, Pinterest Stuff (Five Activities for Toddlers With High Energy), Camping Story #4 - Our First Camping Trip Ever, Zac Turns 21, Austin Turns 28 AND Just Keep Smiling (Live With the Characters Dance Party)

Good Wednesday morning!

Lots to share today, so let's get started.

Quotable Quotes

"What wings are to a bird and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul." Corrie ten Boom

Pinterest Stuff

Five Activities for Toddlers With High Energy - Wear Them Out in Style!

Chances are, most toddlers already do the obvious activities (running, jumping, swimming and walking). Here are five more for high-energy toddlers.

1. Dumpster Diving - No, not a dumpster in an alley. A homemade dumpster that you erect from a large cardboard box.

First step is to find a large cardboard box with enough room inside for your toddler to explore.

Now fill the cardboard box with items such as newspapers, packing peanuts, shredded paper and other things they have to search through. Throw in some empty plastic bottles and cereal boxes to give it more of a dumpster-like feel.

Have your toddler find a specific amount of small toys like cars, army guys, trading cards (whatever you have at home). Hide the toys, then drop the little ones in the "dumpster" and have them search for the items.

2. Tape Road - Create a tape road throughout the house or basement for the kids to drive along. If they have ride-on toys like Big Wheels or fire trucks, make the road wide enough for them to ride their vehicles.

If there are no ride-on toys, narrow the tape road and they can push the toy cars or trucks down it instead. You can leave the road up all of the time, or just make a temporary one to be removed at bedtime.

Blue Painter's Tape works great on wood floors, but using other items to build the road will work, too. (Curtain rods, sticks or towels.)

You can even make a bubble wrap road! Same idea as the tape road, but a lot noisier! Everyone loves to pop bubble wrap, especially the big bubbles. Why not make a road out of it for the kids to pop?

Be sure to tape it down with the painters tape to make for easier "driving." You can even lay down pillows or cushions with a bubble wrap path through them to create hills to drive over.

3. Obstacle Courses - Obstacle courses are a fun way to let your high-energy toddler let out some steam and work on his gross motor skills. You can do this activity indoors or outdoors.

The great thing about obstacle courses is you can use just about anything to set it up! I’ve made super simple ones with sidewalk chalk on my driveway and more complex ones in my backyard using pool noodles, my son’s slide and other outdoor toys.

For an indoor obstacle course, use pillows, couch cushions and so on to build your course. Before sending your toddler through it, just double-check to make sure you didn’t build it near anything breakable! Go through it on your knees to get an idea of what it will be like for your toddler.

4. Outdoor or Indoor Scavenger Hunt - Finding hidden items is a huge thrill to any child, so a scavenger hunt should definitely be on this list. Indoor or outdoor, whichever you prefer depending on the season.

Simply hide toys around the yard and let them loose with a list of what to find. Writing the list on a paper bag works great, too. They can just put the objects in the bag.

If you want to add some learning exercises to the hunt, consider making it a color hunt, a counting hunt or a stuffed animal hunt. Use a little creativity for their special scavenger hunt.

5. Roll Down a Hill - If you’re fortunate enough to live near a nice, safe hill for the toddlers to play on, let them roll down it. Easy enough. They run up the hill and they roll down it again and again, giggling and laughing like crazy.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Camping Story #4 - Our First Camping Trip Ever - We decided to bite the bullet and take our little family camping. Austin was five and Josh was three. Roxie was a toddling baby, so we decided to leave her at her grandparents' house. In my mind, if everything went well, she could start camping when she turned three. (Actually, I was hoping she was going to be a prissy little thing who didn't like camping, and on camping weekends while the guys were out and about, she and I would have manicures and shop and watch chick flicks, etc. That dream never came true... but that's another story.)

With another family who had boys our boys' ages, we planned our very first camping trip. Oak Mountain was our destination... only 35 short minutes from home. We planned a weekend in May (usually a mild month in Alabama). We borrowed the tent and gathered the rest of the equipment from different places.

We arrived at the campground mid-afternoon, picked out our spots and started for the first time ever to set up camp. The boys were thrilled. They had brought their box of dinosaurs (a camping must), other various toys and they had each other in the woods. They were happy. Near our campsite was a large branch which was semi-broken and hanging from a tree almost touching the ground. Our guys were just the right weight NOT to break the branch, and it was like having a tire swing in our back door. They had a ball playing on the almost broken tree branch.

While we were setting up camp, the three year-olds needed to go to use the bathroom and rather than walking all the way to the bathhouse, the dads told them to do what all little boys love to do... skip the bathhouse and find a tree. Life was good.

After camp was set up, we all walked down to the lake to let the boys wade. We hadn't planned on swimming, and we hadn't really packed a lot of extra clothes... plus, if your three year-old swims that means mom has to be ready to swim. We, as the moms, had definitely not packed our swimsuits.

We were very specific in our instructions "to wade" and "not swim." We even went so far as to explain, "Do not put your head in the water. Do not let the water get above your knees. Do you understand?" There was a lot of nodding going on.

And then, Joshua's partner in crime at the time, smiled the smile three year-old boys smile right before they... go completely under the water. Right in front of the parents who had just told him "Do not put your head in the water!" He came out the water, and flashed another smile.

We've all been there. You tell your child not to do something, and they decide to disobey you then and there... and smile at you. He was quickly punished, and we were on our way to the campsite. We had handed all the boys water bottles. "Drink it all. Do not pour it out. Do not waste the water." And then, Joshua's partner in crime at the time, smiled the smile three year-old boys smile right before they... pour the water out of the water bottle onto the street.

Sputtering, the dad of this particular three year-old uttered the punishment then and there.

"NO WATER OR DRINKS FOR YOU THE REST OF THE TRIP!"

Don't get self-righteous on me. We've all done the same thing before. I've told my kids they could never go outside again; never have ice cream again; never watch TV again; never... well, you get the picture. Parenting is hard on the best day... and three year-old boys... WHEW!

"What are we going to do?" I asked the other mom as we walked back to camp. "He'll be dehydrated if he doesn't get to drink until we leave tomorrow."

"I know. I know," she replied. I could see the wheels turning and she walked up to her husband and whispering began.

"We've figured it out," she said as she dropped back to walk beside me.

"What are you going to do?" I asked.

"We're going to give him mercy," she replied.

"Oh. Yeah, that will work," I said. Actually, I didn't know what in the world she was talking about.

When we got back to the campsite, Dad and mischievous three year-old boy went to a picnic table to sit down and talk. A few minutes later, hugs were exchanged and the little boy came up to me. "May I have a drink, please?" he asked.

"Well, what did Mom and Dad say?"

"They said it was okay. I got mercy," he said simply... and I handed him a bottled water.

Mom and Dad had turned the whole incident into a devotion. Every day we do things we are not supposed to do, and this does not please God. But God has mercy on all of us, sinners that we are, and forgives us when we ask. This little guy had asked for forgiveness and, in return, had received mercy (a/k/a bottled water).

Of course, just like all of us (adults, too), mercy isn't given just once and that's it. We need it time and time again as we go through our daily lives. What a great lesson.

And by the way, the three year-olds ALMOST made it to bedtime before mercy had to be bestowed upon them yet again.

Our first camping trip was short, memorable and went well enough we were hooked. I hope your first camping trip will be just as pleasant and fun to get you over the fear of sleeping in the woods, using questionable bathhouses and hearing noises you cannot identify in the middle of the night.

I really, really do!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Zac Turns 21 - That's right! The baby of my side of the family turned 21, and it was very surreal to me and his Mom, I think.


You'll notice this is one of only two pictures I took of the birthday boy.

Considering the "baby of the family" status, that is pretty sad.


Sawyer...


Judith...


And Carly Beth had multiple pictures taken of them during the party, so it was pretty plain to see the four-and-under-crowd ALL took Zac's place as the new babies of the family.




Thankfully, he seemed to handle it pretty well.

RANDOMNESS #3 - Austin Turns 28 - Yep. That isn't a typo. The Boy is practically 30 which means I am...

Oh, never mind.

Melia had Austin's party at Mae's Food Hall in Cullman, and it was a lot of fun.


There were a few who couldn't make it for the festivities, but RT was there.

If cake is involved, RT will always make the effort to attend.

That, and he kinda goes anywhere his Mommy and Daddy take him without question.


Have you ever had anyone look up at you the way Judith is looking up at her Uncle Austin?

Me, either.


This was Austin's Oreo Cake from Cakes by Elise in Mt. Olive.

It was SUCH a good chocolate cake.


And this was one of the cookies made by Melia for everyone to have as a take-home goodie.








One of the things I like about Mae's Food Hall are the swing chairs at some of the tables.

You cannot swing hard, but gently swaying while you eat is very nice, I think.

Sitting still is highly overrated.






Even though everyone said NO when I offered to tell one of my favorite stories (The Day The Earth Stood Still and THE BOY was Born), Mae's Food Hall was definitely the way to go.

RANDOMNESS #4 - Just Keep Smiling (Live With the Characters Dance Party) - This is the THIRD year I have attended this specific event, and I loved it just as much as the very first time I saw the performance!

If you have never taken the kiddos in your family, you will need to correct that error next February!






The pictures you will see in this post are just a tiny, tiny example of the star power present at this extravaganza.


RT needed no help walking right up to Mickey and Minnie.

They are old friends.




Judith and her cousin, Sara Grace, had just as much fun as RT after the show getting autographs and pictures with some of the stars.









It was a Saturday morning well spent.

Before I move on, I wanted to share Just Keep Smiling Foundation's purpose with you.

"The Just Keep Smiling Foundation is a non-profit organization that seeks to assist families with critically ill children. We strive to do so by providing financial aid for immediate needs, offering emotional support based on personal knowledge of a child’s serious illness or death, and sharing spiritual insight that conveys the solace, grace and strength found in God."

The scripture they use on their website is Lamentations 3:20-21. "This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail."

JKS is an amazing organization run by equally amazing women, and any time you can attend one of their events, I highly recommend you do so.

Excellent!

Okay, Guys. That's a wrap for the month of February. I'll be back in March with some superlative Spring activities and fun.

Take care, and I will talk to you soon.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Not all who wander are lost.
Some are just Moms...
In Target...
Hiding from their children.

"This year I promise to exercise (my right to say) more (doughnuts)." @veryjane on Instagram

Friday, February 15, 2019

7-Up Cake, Wendy's Frosty (Not), Easy Ritz Cracker Chicken, Pinterest Stuff (Jesus Gets Excited When You Pray Object Lesson), Park Day with RT, A Shower for Eden AND Camping Story #3 - Where Have All the Campers Gone?

Good Wednesday evening!

First off, I have some new recipes for you to try!

7-Up Cake

You will need the following:

1 lemon cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) Jello Instant Lemon Pudding
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups 7-Up or any lemon lime drink
3/4 cup vegetable oil

1. Combine all ingredients and mix well with mixer.

2. Spray 2 (8-inch) cake pans and divide batter.

3. Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 35-40 minutes testing for doneness as ovens vary.

4. Let cool and frost with your favorite frosting or the pineapple filling recipe below.

You will need the following for the Pineapple Filling:

1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups coconut

1. Mix pineapple, butter, sugar, eggs and flour together.

2. Cook on medium heat until thickens. (I bring this to a low boil, turn down and cook about five minutes, stirring often).

3. Remove and add coconut.

4. Let cool and spread between cooled cake layers and on top of cake.

5. This cake should be refrigerated.

This was a very moist, light, delicious cake. Reminded me of Summer!

Wendy's Frosty (Not)

You will need the following:

3/4 cup almond milk
15 ice cubes
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/3 banana

Blend.

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - This is a very good smoothie, but in my opinion, it tastes nothing like the Wendy's Frosty. I also added the 1 teaspoon honey to the recipe just to make it a little sweet. It is filling, and I can definitely drink it for lunch or have it as an afternoon snack if we're going to have a late dinner.

Easy Ritz Cracker Chicken

You will need the following:

1 or 2 pounds of chicken tenderloins
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 sleeves of Ritz Crackers, crushed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Melt butter in a microwavable dish and set aside.

3. Crush Ritz Crackers,and place crushed crackers on a dinner plate.

4. Dip the chicken tenderloins in butter, then coat with Ritz Crackers. Place on a lined baking sheet.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - This is a very simple recipe, but when you add fruit salad and a couple of vegetables, you have a really good, quick meal for the middle of the week. (And if you double the recipe, you will have leftovers for the weekend!)

Pinterest Stuff

Jesus Gets Excited When You Pray (Object Lesson)

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - This was taken word-for-word from Pinterest.

What I really love about this was the fact you can take something relatively easy to find (fizzy tablets), and turn it into something really cool!

Kids LOVE fizz. Even I, as an adult, feel child-like exuberance when I see fizz. There is something just so awesome about effervescence.

I took this fizz idea and made it my own. Sometimes to come up with a cool idea, we just need a little help from above... and others!

My lesson was to teach children about prayer. I don't think you can stress enough the importance of building a strong relationship with our Lord. Prayer does this along with reading His Word.

Jesus Gets Excited When You Pray

I used 1 Timothy 2:1-6 (NLT). I wanted to stress that Jesus hears all prayers, not just prayers that come from adults.

Also, I wanted the children to understand what praying actually means. I looked up and printed out the definition, and using some age-appropriate words, described what it means to pray.

After we took turns reading and discussing prayer, I showed the kids what happens when we pray.

I used two glasses and filled them with regular tap water, and for extra "fizz," sparkling water.

I went to our local City Market and bought Alka Seltzer generic tablets. We got 30 tablets for roughly $2. I wanted to make sure we had enough for two per child.

I allowed the children to pick what color we would make the water.

I had them gather around and I said, "Tell me how this makes you feel." I dropped a tablet into the water, and it immediately began to fizz.

The excitement on their faces was evident and also, they said it was pretty cool.

I asked them if it was exciting to watch the fizz, and they all said, "Yes!"

I told them every time we pray to Jesus, that's how He feels. He feels excited because we're building a relationship with Him. We're talking to Him. We're including Him in our lives. Jesus loves us so much, and He wants to be a part of our lives.

I handed each kid two tablets (there are two in each pack). I told them each one of us could pray together for someone or about something in our lives. I also gave them the choice if they didn't feel comfortable praying out loud, we would just pray in agreement silently with them.

To watch the kids pray with excitement was just amazing! I know some of it had to do with the fizzy tablets, but I also got to watch them gain understanding that praying is a good thing. Praying can be fun!

I also told the kids after a few prayers we needed to be quiet and listen. They could hear the fizzing noise in action. I told them sometimes that's exactly how God works. He answers our prayers, but sometimes we have to be quiet and listen.

At the end of the devotion, I allowed the kids to save up their fizzes, and they all dropped the remaining ones in together to see if they could make the water overflow. Just a little fun.

Make sure to monitor the kids, too! If you use the Alka Seltzer tablets, make sure they don't eat them or drink the water you use.

RANDOMNESS #1 - Park Day with RT - One of my favorite parks in our area is just a four-minute drive from my house. It has a walking trail beside a babbling brook, two fenced-in dog parks and life-size plastic jungle animals (hippo, elephants, giraffes, etc.).

When I'm in the mood to go to a park, nine times out of ten, I like to go to this one...

And the kids seem to like it, too.


He has no fear of slides, big or little...


And while this may look like an unhappy, screaming face, in reality it is a very excited face.

I got him at a bad angle.




Pretty impressive, isn't it?

And this is the little giraffe!


He likes to take a couple of matchbox cars wherever he goes, but I left those in the car and brought five of these balls and a soccer ball instead. As soon as we figured out the best way for him to carry them around, everything was good.

NOTE FROM ENCHANTING BELINDA - I know you are probably thinking, "Her pictures are just getting blurrier and blurrier."

In my defense, I took the above pics with my phone which is very old.

And as far as the blurry pics I take with my camera, I AM VERY OLD.

RANDOMNESS #2 - A Shower for Eden - Courtney had a Baby Shower for Eden this past Saturday which was very much fun!


Bev made these diaper centerpieces for the tables...


And Melia made and decorated cookies for the guests.

Pretty cool, huh?


Just so you know, we had more than one food table, but I didn't take pictures of Courtney behind the chicken salad table for some reason.


Melia, Courtney, Roxie and Miss Nelly.

Roxie had originally told me she wouldn't be able to come, so I was more than a little thrilled to see her!


Courtney and her Mom, Donna.


Judith was the official "helper" when it came time to open gifts.


Have you ever seen prettier cousins?

I didn't think so.









RANDOMNESS #3 - Camping Story #3 - Where Have All the Campers Gone? - While you are reading this, please keep in mind, we camped at least once a year, and tried to camp two to three times a year.

So obviously some of the trips were very, very good.

Obviously.

A year or two AFTER the Georgia fiasco, we did decide to try another out-of-state camping trip with our camping buddies. Roxie was three or four, so she was along for this one. We went to a campground in the beautiful state of Tennessee known for it's hiking trails, waterfalls and beautiful foliage. The pictures on the brochure were lovely, picturesque even, and we looked forward to spending a fall weekend in the great state of Tennessee.

When we arrived, we were surprised to see the "set-up" of the campground. There was a huge circle and the campers had set up tents and pop-ups under trees as you went around the circle. In the middle of the huge circle, across a grassy field, was the BATHHOUSE. There were no trees in between the tent and the BATHHOUSE, but it was still quite a little hike. However, the campsites were great. Picnic tables intact, fire pits ready to go, level spots to pitch the tents. We were excited.

As the guys got busy with unloading, Roxie, the other mom and I made our way to the BATHHOUSE to check it out. Oh, my! "Rustic" is a kind word to describe the facilities. Very kind.

"Well, maybe there's another bathhouse we can drive to and use," we reasoned. There was... and in comparison, it was a twin. Hmmm!

"Did you bring flip flops?" we both asked. We had, so once again, we decided to trade in the beautiful scenery and great weather for a less than perfect bathhouse. (MUCH less than perfect!)

The first night of our trip was peaceful and relaxing. The weather was great and after our trek to the Bathhouse in the Middle of Nowhere, we bedded down. We had planned on hiking to a waterfall the next day, so we knew we needed our rest.

The following day was gorgeous, and after breakfast we set out on our hike to the famous waterfall. On this hike, we had to go across a swinging bridge (always interesting), through creeks and up the famous Tennessee mountains. When I say up, I mean up the entire way. We hiked forever... and then we hiked some more. Roxie and her male counterpart, Grant (both three or four at the time) were troopers and thankfully, did not ask us to carry them. That would have been very difficult. Several hours later (or maybe just 90 minutes), we came upon the waterfall.

Yes, it was beautiful.

We looked at it for about five minutes.

Then we noticed how many people were with us looking at the waterfall. We hadn't hiked up the mountain with all these people. They weren't hot and sweaty. Some of the women even had on make-up and their hair was done. Some of them had the nerve to be wearing cute shoes, too! Who were these people? Where had they come from? Why were they looking at OUR waterfall?

So I asked, "Did you hike up here?"

"Uh, no. We drove," was the smug reply.

"What do you mean you drove?" I asked.

"There's a main road right over there." I turned around and there it was. A perfectly good paved road.

"Where did you come from?" I inquired.

"Oh, we're staying in a RV down at the campground," Miss Priss answered before she walked back to her BMW!

Before she could get back into her car, I yelled, "How long a drive is it from the campground?"

"About five minutes give or take a minute," she called over her shoulder, and then she was gone.

"I think I hate her," I mumbled to Mikie.

He assured me that 90 minutes up the mountain would translate into 30 minutes going down the mountain. That made sense. And at this point, hot, sticky and more than a little grumpy, what was 30 more minutes.

Down we went, and 60 minutes later (NOT 30), we were back at our campsite. We stayed in our little cluster of tents for the rest of the day hydrating ourselves.

On Sunday, we decided to just hang around our campsites and play which was fine with the six kids. But we started noticing something strange around the noon hour. It was like an exodus of some kind. Everyone was leaving.

"Well, just because Alabama has a three-day weekend doesn't mean Tennessee has a three-day weekend. Everyone has to go back to school and work tomorrow," Mikie reasoned.

That was fine, except by 2:00 p.m. we were IT. I mean NO ONE was left in the huge circular campsite. It was like we had been dropped off by a helicopter in the wilderness.

"Do we have a gun or a knife or a big stick or something in case there's a wild bear attack or a bunch of hillbillies descend upon us," I asked Mike.

"I have my pocket knife, and we have those plastic knives you bring to spread peanut butter," was my husband's reassuring nswer.

"This could be a very long night."

And it was. Just the last walk to the bathhouse alone was unnerving because someone (one of the people leaving... probably Miss Priss) had turned all the bathhouse lights off before heading out, and we walked across a field in pitch blackness looking for the building. And, of course, when we found it, it hadn't changed a bit... still very gross.

We went to bed a little early, and I think the four adults slept with one eye open. (I was, again, unable to pass out and painfully aware of how vulnerable we were in the middle of nowhere with no communication or weaponry of any kind... unless you count throwing screaming children at whatever is attacking you as "weaponry.")

And I do.

I do count throwing screaming children as "weaponry."

I have never been so happy to see the sun in all my life. We ate breakfast and packed up our campsite in record time to head home. Think, think, think of the Good Things from this trip.

Good Thing #1 - Roxie and Grant were WONDERFUL hikers. If they had been even a little less sturdy, it would have been the end of the adults as we took turns carrying them to the top of the mountain.

Good Thing #2 - The waterfall was pretty... not Niagara, but pretty, just the same.

Good Thing #3 - We weren't bitten by any of the spiders in the bathhouse... and there were a lot of spiders in the bathhouse.

Good Thing #4 - We weren't attacked by any bears or hillbillies. I think this is huge.

Good Thing #5 - That's it. Once again, I did the best I could to come up with Good Things #1 through #4.

And for some reason or another, we have never even discussed camping in Tennessee again. I'm not sure, but I think it was the bathhouse. I may forget dates and events, but a bad bathhouse... that's burned on a woman's brain forever!

DISCLAIMER: If you are a hillbilly (or are related to a hillbilly), I meant no offense by the reference above. I'm just saying if a hillbilly had happened to come out of the woods in the dead of night in Tennessee in an abandoned campground, it would have been very, very frightening. (In all fairness, it would be frightening in Alabama and Georgia, too.) Again, no offense.

Are these stories hurting or helping? Are they strengthening your resolve to never camp, or are they getting you excited about this Spring when you can begin camping? I can tell you one thing... good or bad, our family has always come away from these trips closer and with a bond that has lasted over the years. Every camping experience is different, but one thing remains the same... you're in it together and that makes you a stronger "family unit."

Have a grand week, and I'll be back in a few days with Camping Story #4, more pics and maybe some life changing information for you and yours!

Yeah.

Probably just the story and some pics.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Moms Texting Each Other...
Mom #1 - I'm done. I'm selling the kid on e-bay.
Mom #2 - Don't be crazy. You made him! That goes on Etsy!

"Parenting is basically an 18-year episode of Survivor."
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