Enchanted Mommy

Realistic DIY Kid Valentine’s

I try to be creative with my kids’ Valentine cards, but in all honesty, I’m not that creative.  I like to think I am, so I go on Pinterest and look for Valentine’s that I could see myself doing with a 3 and 5 year old.  My 3 year old has 15 in her class and my 5 year old has 23.  Eek!  In this case, patience is a virtue.  So, I’ve searched and found what I think is the 5 easiest Valentine’s for kids.

1.  I’m glad we’re in the same school.  This one is cute and can easily be written!  I found this one here. valentinefish

2.  You are Beary Special.  I actually did this one with Ella last year, so it can be done.  Check this one out here.
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3.  I mean this one might take a while, but it looks cool and doable.  Who doesn’t love twinkies anyway?!  Found here.

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4.  This one is a cute pencil Valentine.
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5.  This lolly pop Valentine idea seems cool.  My kids’ wouldn’t be near this perfect, but I like the concept!
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I think these are my top 5 because they are cute and simple.  Happy Valentine’s Day and Superbowl Sunday.  Katy Perry = awesome!

 

 

 

Mommy Against Drunk Driving

Every mommy will work her hardest to protect her child. That’s a given. But what happens when the scenario is not in your hands?

We’ve all heard the dangers of drunk driving. They’re taught to our kids in school and we stress the lessons of not driving while under the influence automatically nowadays. But why do we still hear stories of terrible things happening in relation to driving drunk?

About one year ago, four boys in my town were involved in a deadly car accident because the driver of the car was under the influence of alcohol and drugs. They were all about to enter their freshman years of college. But unfortunately two of the boys did not make it to college. They didn’t even make it past the crash. They died on impact. Although these boys were also under the influence and were cognizant of their actions entering the car, the seamless action of their poor decision became the end of their lives. Worst of all, the driver of the car is one of the boys that survived and has to live with the guilt of killing his friends and serve time for their deaths.

And God forbid there had been another car on the road in proximity to their car. Think about all the innocent lives that could have been affected or lost due to this poor decision. Unfortunately I’m aware that things like this happen all the time, everywhere -not just to the four teenage boys in my town. There have been so many instances of drunk driving tragedies that the words’ meaning have become so diluted. We forget about the repercussions when it doesn’t involve us personally.

I reflect back on this and am saddened by the fact that everyone has seemed to move past this tragedy. The teens who were friends with the victims went to college, the community affected turned their focus to the next item on the block, summer ended and the devastation became a feeling of the past -we all moved on.

Yet this accident had the largest impact of all and will always loom around the families of these boys. The mothers who will never see their sons again. Drunk driving changed these lives forever. In a way, loved ones can’t really ever move past a day like this. I am troubled on behalf of these people. I know organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving are out there doing good things in the world but at some point you have to wonder when or if people will learn on their own. I’m concerned for my children and I’m concerned for the future. How high does the death toll have to rise before people learn?

This was a guest post from Erin at dallasdwilawyer.org

Pinkalicious 1st Birthday

I cannot believe it, my youngest princess turned the big 1.  We decided to do a Pinkalicious family party.  Here she is!

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I always take 1st birthday pictures of my kids.  I quickly did this one two days before her birthday so I could display it at her party.  In case you’re wondering, I got the romper and headband here.  It fit her perfect and ran true to size (she’s 17 lbs and I ordered 6-12 months).

I’m so mad at myself for not taking pictures of the food, but it included:
– chicken salad  and egg salad croissants
– butterfly pb & j sandwiches for the kids
– lumpia
spinach dip
 buffalo cheese ball
– veggie tray
– fruit salad
sausage cheese dip

I also took pictures of the drinks kind of late so they didn’t look the prettiest at this point:

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The best was the pink punch!  I thought it tasted so delicious!  I scooped the sherbet into the punch with an ice cream scoop.  The pink chevron straws are from Target.

My favorite was her “1” cake because it looked so cute, but was SOOOOOOO easy to make!

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I used a strawberry cake mix and funfetti icing.  I dyed the icing pink with icing dye.  It was so easy!  I did have to put the icing in the fridge for like 30 minutes after I mixed it because it was a little too loose.  I used a wilton 1M tip and started in the center and worked my way around.    I filled in the holes with the same tip in between the cupcakes.  It took me probably 10 minutes to ice!  I also put these edible pearls on there for a little extra touch.

Her smash cake looked very similar!

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This probably took me 5 minutes to ice.  I used this cupcake cake mold.  First, I put icing in between the two layers of cake and then did a very thin layer of icing on the top with a butter knife so the roses would stick well.  I used the same icing tip as above and just did little roses all over and added the pearls.  Remember, the rose starts in the center!  I bought the ribbon at A.C. Moore.

I also made chocolate covered pretzels and sugar cookies.  My mother in-law also made a delicious cheesecake.

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I used my cookie cutters from my kit that I wrote about before.  I actually just bought pillsbury cold dough.  The letters looked rough until I iced them!  I thought they turned out pretty cute!

Here is the display of her “pink sweets” table.

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I’d say she enjoyed her cake!  I love how her handprint is on her face.

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Okay, so one more…..

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I also made cute pom poms for above her!

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I used 8 pieces of tissue paper for the center one, 7 for the dark pink ones and 6 for the small ones!

I’d say she had a pretty good 1st birthday!

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Be still my heart!

I hope you have as much fun planning your little ones’ birthdays as I do!

Exercise with a Cause

Spring is upon us, and for many of us that means getting back into the swing of a regular exercise schedule. One of the most recent trends in the fitness industry has been ‘Tough Mudders’ and ‘Spartan Races.’ The idea for these is pretty straightforward; take a standard running race and add a variety of obstacles to challenge participants to add a unique spin to a running race. Of course, standard running and cycling events aren’t hard to find either, and can be just as fun. Many of these races have a great cause, too. Using race registration revenue to make donations, these races can act as a platform for charitable organizations to collect funding, and are a great way for you to give back to the community.

Training Tip: To train for one of these things, you’re going to want to incorporate a lot of running. No matter how you spin it, you’ll be running a lot at these, and running is also a great way to brush up your fitness. A little calisthenic work will also go a long way: you don’t want to be underpowered in the obstacle course.

Choosing the race/event is the next priority. Be mindful to pick an event that is funding a cause that you would like to support. Most charities are clear with the destination of their donations, so check to see what is going on behind the scenes if you’re curious. The truth is, these charities have a lot more manpower to make sure the donations are going to the right places, and more so, are increasing visibility for the cause, so signing up for a reputable event is money well spent. This way, you’ll be able to knock out two things at once: you’ll get exercise with a goal in mind, and you’ll be giving back to the community at the same time. These races are a great solution for working parents struggling to find time or motivation.

If you want to go the extra mile, ask your employer what they do to support charitable causes. It’s not far fetched for companies, like this health insurance company, to have some charitable outreach. Asking your employer to start a similar program could be great for them and for your community.

No matter what type of race you participate in or how quickly you are able to reach the finish line, you’ll feel better afterwards. These races are beneficial for you and your community, so do some research and find the right race for you.  

Simple Tips to Save Money for Your Family

It has become especially stressful in recent years with the struggling economy to support a family. From the overwhelming cost of hundred of diapers to the money you need to save for their future college educations, there are so many things to consider. That is why my family focuses on saving money in as many ways as possible. Over time, we’ve really fine-tuned our savings approach and found several unique methods for cutting costs that I think could benefit any family. Below, you’ll find some of my favorite tips for saving.

Stay in the Know

It’s no hidden secret that you can clip or print coupons for your shopping trips. However, a lot of your favorite stores have deals that you’re missing out on. Many companies have started offering special deals through sms marketing. For instance, if you sign up to receive texts from Redbox you can save on entertainment for your family when they text you deals like “rent one dvd get one free” throughout the month. Signing up for text alerts can help you to avoid paying full price for things that are marked down on a regular basis.

Set Up a Babysitting Swap

Unfortunately, date nights can really add up and put a huge dent in your bank account. It’s still very important to maintain a healthy relationship with your significant other. I read all about how babysitting swaps worked for other families and we decided to try it out with some friends of ours. It’s been one of the best money-saving changes we’ve made over the years. You still get some alone time from the kids, but you don’t have to add $40 or more to your date night when you come home and pay the babysitter. Instead, you find other parents who are willing to watch your kids for the evening in exchange for you doing the same on one of their date nights. If you haven’t tried this yet, email your friends ASAP and set something up!

Master your Gardening Skills

Having a family can significantly increase the total of your grocery shopping bill each week. But, you can avoid having to purchase certain produce items if you simply learn to grow them in your own home. Starting a vegetable garden in your back yard has more benefits than just saving you money. The produce is extremely fresh and delicious and I’ve grown to find my time tending the garden to be relaxing and therapeutic.

Declutter Your Closets

There are many ways that going through your closet can help you to save money. First, you can list items that you no longer wear on sites like poshmark and make money from home. We’ve all tried those consignment shops, but often leave disappointed in the money that we receive in return for our clothes. Poshmark allows you to set your own price and bargain with those near you. When going through the kids’ closets, you may also run across great pieces for hand-me-downs that you forgot even existed. Take the time to sort through all of the closets in your house on a regular basis and I guarantee you’ll start saving some money.

Having a family can be expensive, but we all know it’s so worth the price in the end. We can all use new ways to save some money every now and then. Whether you sign up for text marketing from your favorite companies or you learn to grow your own tomatoes and cucumbers, following these tips will surely help you to increase the money in your savings accounts.

80’s Fireplace Redone – White Wash

We are still in the process of updating our home.  As mentioned before, it was a short sale that needed TONS of “help”.  It was at the top of our budget, so we slowly have to update.  This project only cost $43 and so many people have commented on how great it looks.  I got the idea here from my favorite home blog, The Yellow Cape Cod.

Here’s the fireplace before:

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I hated the black brick showing with the 80’s red.

Here’s the process:

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Step by step process:

1. Go to Sherwin Williams and get a gallon of white Cashmere paint.  You can only get it in a gallon, that’s the only way they sell it.  You will also need a paintbrush if you don’t have one.  Make sure you check online for a coupon, I found a 30% off paint one!

2.  Remove mantle and clean your fireplace out.

3.  Clean off your fireplace by vacuuming it well.

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3.  Mix half paint and half water.  You really only need like a pint so your container doesn’t need to be that big.

4.  Start Painting.  One person brushes and another comes behind with an old rag (we used one of my husband’s old white t-shirts) to smooth things over.

You can tell we had a lot going on at once.

You can tell we had a lot going on at once.

It was that easy!  I wanted it white washed so you could still see the brick through it.  You can always add less water or do an extra coat.  I’m SO happy with it.  I would love a new mantle, but that isn’t quite in the budget just yet.

Looks completely different!

Looks completely different!

The whole project took less than three hours.  WHY DIDN’T I DO THIS SOONER?!?!  I love it and I love it even more because we did it ourselves!  Thank you Yellow Cape Cod!

 

 

 

 

How to Stick to Your Exercise Plan this Winter

Sometimes it can be difficult to keep up with your health during the winter months. The temperature starts dropping and all you really want to do is cozy up on the couch with a blanket instead of running outside in the freezing temperatures. Staying motivated this time of year is next to impossible. However, there are some ways to maintain your fitness routine this winter that are more fun (and warm!) than simply running around your neighborhood.

Home workout videos are a fantastic way to get your exercise in and keep off that extra weight. You can stay inside and away from the cold air. Plus, you can do the videos on your own time and you can alternate your videos to keep your workout interesting instead of getting bored doing the same old thing you always do. Some workout videos are as short as 15 minutes while others can be an hour, so you have the chance to vary your routine depending on how much free time you have that day. I highly recommend getting yourself a copy of Personal Training with Jackie or any of Jillian Michaels’ DVDs. You can also check out some of these free YouTube videos.

Another fun way to get in some exercise during the cold winter is to work out with your children. This way, you’re getting in some family bonding time while also working towards a better figure. You might find this silly, but you can actually lift your kids as weights! The kids will get a kick out of it, and you’ll get some killer muscles.

I know that we don’t really want to head outside in the cold, but sometimes it’s still good to get some fresh air! Ask around for any great trails near you and go for a hike. You’ll get in your cardio exercise and you’ll avoid getting cabin fever. I recently went for a hike myself and I was blown away by the breathtaking views. Even though we sometimes complain about the snow, it truly does make the landscape look beautiful!

(photo credit: Chris Pivik on Flickr)

Some community centers allow you to visit for a small donation or even for free. Check your local listings and see if there are any rec centers where you can take your kids and get in a little time on the treadmill, elliptical, or weights. You’ll be getting out of the house, but still staying out of the cold.


Don’t use the cold weather this winter as an excuse to avoid exercise. Take advantage of this time to mix up your routine and try new ways to get fit. Before you know it, spring will be here again and we will be able to run outside, but you might find that you’ve got a new favorite workout video that you’ll continue using into the warm seasons as well!

Article by: Chris Pivik.

Face Plates – You Gotta Get One

This is such a fun way to get your kids to eat!  My husband got these face plates for my older two girls for Christmas because they are picky, very picky!  He thought they might be open to eating more of a variety of foods with this.  Here are just a few cute things we’ve done with them since Christmas.  They really do love them!  They are about $12 on amazon.  The possibilities are endless!

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Employee Benefits & Working from Home

In today’s society, being a “stay at home mommy” does not have the same meaning that it did in the past. Some moms that stay at home are still earning an income, while completing the many tasks around raising children and taking care of a home. Many are self-employed. With the rise in companies such as Rodan + Fields, Avon, and Mary Kay women are given the option of working from home on a more flexible schedule.

With these companies, mothers can still spend time with their families and do all of the things they want to do while earning a little extra income for their household. The business model of companies like Stella & Dot have been on the rise. More and more people (not just moms) are choosing to work from home on their own terms. In fact, the bureau of labor reports that 15 million people were self employed in 2015. These companies are providing a more flexible work schedule.

There are other ways to jump on this type of work without working as a sales person. Blogging has become a very popular profession. It can be difficult to get started and not all bloggers make a very steady income, but I truly love the lifestyle I have created by becoming a mommy blogger. I get to do all the things I love (crafting, baking, and spending time with the kids) while providing ideas for other moms! What more could I ask for?

Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks of being a self-employed, work from home individual. For instance, I do not get a lot of the perks associated with a normal job. Benefits such as health insurance, PTO, and company matched retirement savings are not available to bloggers. I also miss out on the interpersonal communication in the office environment.

For this reason, I find it important to give myself the normal perks associated with working in an office. I take lunches with friends to get that interaction during the day. I still take time to myself, planning vacations and scheduling blog posts out in advance. But the most important thing that I do to replicate working in a more traditional career path, is to get health insurance coverage for myself and my family.

Companies such as Health Insurance Innovations are providing affordable insurance options for individuals who are not receiving their coverage through an employer. Plus, you don’t even have to leave your “office” because you can get coverage right from your home by signing up online. In fact, I love this idea so much that I’ve considered becoming one of the Health Insurance Innovations Investors

I would highly recommend looking into becoming a modern “stay at home mommy” and joining the self-employed revolution. It’s a fantastic lifestyle that allows you to spend time with your children, take care of yourself, and earn some extra income. Just remember to set yourself up for the normal work perks and you’ll be good to go.

Texting and Driving is a Problem

I absolutely hate it when my husband picks up his phone while driving.  Even if it’s something that he’s doing quickly to update the GPS in the phone to help us get to our desired destination.  I’d much rather do it myself than take the risk of the driver being distracted.   It’s just not worth the risk.

Let’s face it, texting while driving is a problem.  Too many people do it.  We’re all attached to our phones and whether you’re stopped at stoplight or moving down the highway looking down at our phone instead of paying attention the extremely heavy vehicle we’re controlling is dangerous.   I’ve read recently a number of reports about how texting while driving has the same impact on a drivers skills as does driving while under the influence.    What amazes me though is that driving under the influence has significantly greater punishments than the punishments for people that text while driving.  The map below highlights the fines related to driving under the influence and driving while texting.

The difference in most states is huge.  Except for the people in Alaska, who have clearly identified the serious problem of texting while driving.  In many states the financial penalty for drinking while driving is almost 10x higher than if they texted while driving.  Some one needs to review these laws and get that fixed.

If you’re one of many people that text and drive every day, now is the time to stop.  Your message can wait.  And if it can’t, then pull over to focus on your important message.