Enchanted Mommy

10 Ways to Get Active with Your Kids!

Trying to be active as a family can be daunting!  I have not been great at it in the past, but have set my goals much higher this year!  Previously, we would all work on being active on our own;  I would take kickboxing and zumba classes at the gym, Danny would run, and the kids would play sports during different seasons.  It isn’t that we dont still do these things on our own, because we absolutely do, it’s just that now we would like to also incorporate having active lifestyles into our family activities as well.

It takes more effort and planning, but is way more fun and rewarding!  We have made a lot of changes to how we spend our free time and you can to!  It doesn’t matter how old or young your kids are.  These ideas will work for all families with old and young kids alike!

1.  Sign up for a race.  Start off easy, like the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving or another 5k or shorter.  Have your kids train with you!  My kids loved wearing a kids pedometer as they ran/walked.  It was still a bit hard on my five year old so he road his scooter beside us as we trained.  Fun and non competitive races are great for younger kids and for getting started.

We just ran the Color Me Rad Run this past weekend.  They have these all over the country.  They basically spray or throw paint at you as you run by so at the end of the race you are tie-dyed!  The kids loved it!  It was very laid back as far as the run goes.  It wasn’t timed, it was just a good time out getting exercise with the family.  There were lots of kids and even parents pushing strollers.

My niece, me, and my 7 year old getting ready to start the Color Me Rad race.

My niece, me, and my 7 year old getting ready to start the Color Me Rad race.


Here we all are at the finish line covered in paint!

Here we all are at the finish line covered in paint!  I didn’t bring my younger boys to this one as this was the first time running this one and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I will for sure bring them next time!


2.  Plan active things to do on the weekends.  Instead of the usual dinner and/or movie, we try to plan more active outings.  We go to the beach, the pool, hiking, fishing, roller skating, ice skating, the park, the zoo, camping, bowling, … it doesn’t matter as long as it is an activity that keeps your family having fun and on their feet.  It was hard to detour from our typical weekends of eating out and sitting at movies.  We still do these things from time to time, but as a general rule we try to make more ACTIVE plans.

3.  Invite friends over to play games rather than just to eat and sit around.  Meet at a park or plan to be in the backyard playing wiffle ball.  Set up a slip’n slide for the kiddos to play on while you BBQ.  We recently went to our church with some friends in the evening when there were no other activities going on and played freeze tag using the entire building where  adults and kids together would run, hide, and take turns being it.  It was a blast!  Even my three year loved it… he thought he was pretty cool going and unfreezing all the big kids!

4.  Get a basketball hoop!  This is a great way to have something active to do each night!  It doesn’t count if you just send your kids out there to shoot hoops (not that there is anything wrong with this).  The goal is to be active as a family, so go out there and play some HORSE and elimination with the kiddos.  We even set up a mini Little Tikes hoop for our three year right next to the big hoop so he can be part of the game too!

5.  Support your kids in their own sports!  We try to have each of our three boys pick a sport to sign up for each season (as much as funds permit).  We bring the entire family to each game to watch and cheer as much as possible.  Sometimes their games overlap and we have to split up, but more often than not we spend our Saturday mornings going from one game to the next.  It is really important that the kids know we feel what they are doing is important and that we are all there to watch and support their hard work!

6.  Take walks or go on a bike ride after dinner.  This is hit or miss for us because we often have practices on weeknights, but we love to just walk around the neighborhood and talk while the boys ride their bikes beside us.  Taking family walks are never overrated!

7.  Bring back the old school games!  We recently taught our kids how to play Kick the Can.  It was a huge hit!  They are obsessed with it and have all the neighborhood kids coming over after school to play it!  Not a fan of Kick the Can… try dodgeball in the backyard, capture the flag, SPUD, wiffle ball, or even a good old fashioned water fight!  Bring back all those games you use to play around the neighborhood before iPads, wiis, and xboxes ruled the world!  You might feel silly playing these along side the kids at first, but after the first round you will be in it to win it!  Our kids will spend their lives trying to beat us!

8.  Start a garden!  The kids love this!  They are all about weeding, planting, and of course watering!  Gardening helps them take pride in eating healthy home grown produce as well as taking care of the yard.  Each weekend we bring the kids out to help clean up, water, and take care of the garden and yard.  My littlest guy loves pushing around his toy lawnmower while my husband mows the lawn.

9.  Sign up for some adult co-ed sport leagues.  They have everything these days!  You can do softball, volleyball, kickball, flag football, etc…  Bring the whole family to the games to watch and cheer!  It is fun for them to see their parents participating in the same type of organized sports they do!  Last year I did softball.  It was a blast.  We brought Grandma along with us to the games to keep an eye on the kiddos while we played.    The kids loved going to the games and running around with their cousins (whose parents played on the team).  I think we will sign up for kickball next!

10.  Take up tennis!  Tennis is easy because most communities have courts you can play on for free.  These days, you can also get a decent racket for $20.  We like to take the whole family to the courts and play around.  The younger kids mostly just run around the courts throwing tennis balls around while the rest of us practice.  Either way, it is a fun and a free way to be active with your family.

These are just a few ideas and I would LOVE to hear what you do with your family to stay active and healthy! Change takes time, effort, and planning, but this change is so rewarding that it is really worth the fuss!

An active family is a happy family!

Casey and his Daddy after the race!

Casey and his Daddy after the race!


I couldn't resist posting this one was well!  It is not often that we get a cute picture like this!  Thanks to my seven year old for taking it. :)

I couldn’t resist posting this one was well! It is not often that we get a cute picture like this! Thanks to my seven year old for taking it.  Maybe he will be a famous photographer one day or maybe he is just particularly skilled with the iPhone!  🙂



Wanna Lose That Baby Weight?? I Did It, You Can Too!

I’m writing this post because I’m once again 5 months pregnant. We will have three girls in less than four years (my poor, poor, poor husband).  With this said, my oldest two are only 21 months apart and I lost every pound (by working SO hard) in between them and I lost every pound plus four more within six months of giving birth to my second.  NO, I’M NOT TOOTING MY HORN BECAUSE YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!!!  Sidenote: I gained 40 pounds with my 2nd.  I was huge and you would have to kill me before I would publicly share a photo of how bad I looked right before I had her.  I had zero ankles if you know what I mean.

BUT…. Here’s a picture of me in a bikini with my two girls (so it’s proven!).

I even had a little bit of abs!

I even had a little bit of abs!

I’ve got some tips for how you can do it too!  I know, I know, diets suck, but YOU CAN DO IT.  I swear once you get past the first two weeks, you’ll be golden because you’ll see how much weight you’re losing and will be too addicted to stop.  Here’s what I have for you:

1.  Pick a diet and stick to it.  DIET IS 90% OF THE BATTLE.  I chose South Beach Diet, but I pretty much started with phase two because I was breastfeeding.  Once I stopped breastfeeding around nine months, I switched to Paleo.  I felt SO DANG GOOD.  Of course it was hard at first, especially after I ate whatever in site while I was pregnant, but I actually felt really good and energized.

2.  Breastfeed!  I’ve heard that this doesn’t work for everyone, but for me it really did!  I used that extra 500 calories to my advantage and did not just consume them with food.  Side note: I HATE bf, but I knew in my mind it was good for them and the calories just gave me that much more of a boost.

3.  The minute you can start working out, do it!  Get into that workout routine right after your six week check-up.  Spend one hour per day doing something active.  If you don’t want to leave your child with someone at a gym, leave him/her with your husband.  No excuses.  Look for a good gym with good classes.  I LOVE my gym (thank you Lifetime Fitness, Dulles) and all the classes that they offer.  I also love the kids place there.  With this being said, get your baby used to it early.  They will learn to like it, I promise!  It’s also good for mommy to get away for a bit!

4.  Avoid anything with sugar.  I am kind of repeating myself with the whole diet thing, but you have to let go of it.  Remember white carbohydrates turn to sugar.  My favorite snack is a banana with all natural peanut butter (it’s the stuff you have to stir that only contains peanuts and oil).  It’s hard at first, but once you’re used to it, you’ll love the feeling.  I don’t even crave potatoes at all anymore, I have zero desire to ever order a baked potato.  Plus my skin is clear, SO much more clear!

5.  Weigh yourself often.  It keeps me on track.  I’m seriously obsessed,  it keeps me motivated and have self control.  I have this scale and I couldn’t recommend it more.  I use it everyday.  I know I know, experts say to only weigh yourself once a week, but I do it every morning.  It’s what works for me.  It might not work for you, but you need to do it so you can keep track of your success.

6.  This sounds crazy, but put a pre-pregnancy picture of yourself up.  It never hurts to get more motivation.  Before I had kids, I worked dang hard to be skinny and I wasn’t going to let people say “man, she let herself go after kids”.  Instead, I wanted the opposite.


Lastly, I want to let you know that I did have to work really hard to get my weight off and that I’m not naturally a “small” person.  I don’t want people to think that it just comes natural for some and that it’s not worth trying.  I do believe that some people are naturally small, but they aren’t naturally fit.  Once you lose the weight, work extra hard to firm it all up.  I know you can do it too.  It’s never too late to start (even if your last baby was 5 years ago).  I’m already stoked to go at it again.  I just know how good I feel when I’m small verses feeling big all over. In fact, this time around, post baby of course, I’m doing a little challenge with a friend so we keep each other accountable.  That could easily be another motivating tool for some people.

So, with all this said, please try this and let me know how it works for you!  You will feel so awesome.  Happy dieting and working out!  Here’s part of my motivation!  I have so much fun with them and I can because I have ENERGY.

Our crazy family!

Our crazy family!

Happy New Year again!

Turkey Trot!

Happy Thanksgiving!  It is my favorite time of year and I am loving spending it in beautiful Florida this year!  The weather is warm and beautiful and makes us all smile!

This year we did our first Turkey Trot 5k.  It is one of our goals to be more active as a family.  Today we ran with my big sister and 1st grade niece.  We have also signed up our 7 year old to run in his first 5k in Miami in February!  He is really excited to get to race with us next time and has committed to practice and train with us for his race.

Here we are in all our glory! So glad we are running this in Florida with out our sweats and ear warmers!

I wanted to give a shout out to my big sis for her example of getting her family (and mine!) up and out to do fun and active things!  She has a new blog that has so many ideas on how to get your family outside and involved in projects together.  It is really a pretty awesome and inspiring thing she has going.  Check it out at www.littleyellowshack.com

My beautiful sister and niece getting ready for the race! They are so cool and ran in their five finger shoes!

She even has us signed up for paddle boarding next month!  It is never to late to make a change in your life and make being active together as a family your lifestyle!

I am especially thankful this year to see measurable progress on our goals from where we were last year at this time!  Physically, spiritually, temporally, and financially we have been able to progress and accomplish our family and personal goals!  We love each other and have great blessings for fighting through the difficult times together.  From paying off the car loan this year to transforming our life into a more active lifestyle we have really made some great changes this year!

I am also thankful for our church for pushing us to set family goals in all of these area at the beginning of this year and pushing us meet them.  I love inspiration like that!

Happy Turkey Day!!!!!!!!!!


How to Teach your Child Multiplication!

As a math teacher I saw first hand how debilitating it is when children do not know their multiplication tables.  Multiplication is the building block for everything in math.  It can really hold a child back if they do not get this down pat…  the goal is for them to be able to spout them off without even thinking.  Once they have this down it will be much easier for them to understand and learn higher math.

The key is to make sure your  child understands the ideas behind multiplication before starting to memorize the tables.  Conceptual learning should always be the foundation.  It takes a bit more effort to learn on a conceptual level rather than to just memorize math algorithms and formulas, but conceptual thinking is a skill that will benefit your kids through out their academics.

Steps to Teaching Multiplication:

1.   Teach them what multiplication is.  Example:  4 x 3 = 4 + 4 + 4  or 3 + 3 + 3 + 3.  Do not have them start memorizing until you are sure they conceptually understand what multiplication is and how it is used.

2.  Make it fun!  Turn their memorization into a game.  Make or buy some flash guards and give them points or rewards.  Time them and have them compete against their own time.  Have them memorize all the way up to 12 x 12.

3.  Go in order so they are not overwhelmed.  Start with 2’s, then 3’s, etc…

We decided to do an ice cream cone.  Each time my little guy can quickly shout out each answer from the flashcards he passes that “scoop” level.  Once he has earned all 12 scoops the whole family will go get ice cream together.

In order for him to pass a new “scoop” level he also has to have retained all the previous “scoop” levels.  Basically this means that I mix in the current “scoop” flash cards with all the previously passed ones and make him pass all of them in order to get a new scoop on the wall.

My niece decided to make a turkey and put in a new feather for each new multiplication table she passes.  You could also make snowballs on a snowman, pepperoni on a pizza, etc..  whatever you think will motivate your child and make it fun for them.

The Perfect Icepack For Your Little One

Wait for it, wait for it….. It’s a ketchup packet!   They work perfect.

ketchup packet as an ice pack

Use a ketchup packet as an ice pack.

It doesn’t completely freeze so you can still squish it around and mold it to their boo boo.  Look at my sweet one being the model.

perfect ice pack

It’s the right size for those little hands and bumps!

Thanks Parenting Magazine for the tip found here.

Age 3: Take Your Child To The Dentist

At Ella’s 3 year check-up, the doctor said it was time for the dentist!  I had no idea what to expect.  We immediately let her watch some positive YouTube videos of the dentist.  But, I think the best thing that we did was allow her to go to the dentist with me for a check-up.  Trust me, I know all kids aren’t the same, but this helped her.  She sat in the chair the whole time and was intrigued with every tool.  We’ve also always said positive things about the dentist.  Here she is, all ready!

girl at dentist

She's SO ready to get her teeth cleaned!

I have some tips!

1.  Choose a family friendly dentist!  The hygienist at our dentist office has a 2 1/2 year old girl and knew exactly how to talk to her.  Ours was not a pediatric dentist, but they are very kind hearted, so I knew they would be great with her.

She looks so big!

2.  Prepare, prepare, prepare!  Talk about how much you love the dentist and how great your teeth feel.  You gotta coach them into it!

3.  Take them with you! When she went with me, the hygienist explained everything to her.


They cleaned and counted her teeth.  They even let her choose chocolate toothpaste!  Look at my sweet babe all grown up!

My little princess!

Make sure you take your child to the dentist, I would say definitely by 4.  If you haven’t, now is a good time.  I can definitely recommend a good one in NoVa!

Not only did she have her first trip to the dentist, but she also had her first day of preschool.

1st day of school

Ella's 1st day of school!

My Hilarious Journey to Potty Training my Toddler

So I have to admit I am pretty conceited when it comes to my potty training ability.  Besides my two older boys, I have potty-trained hundreds of boys and girls through out the last 10 years.  I worked at children’s center for years, at first as a teacher then later as a Director.    I always told eager parents at preschool, “wait until they are ready.  If they are really ready it will be a cinch and will only take a couple days.”

If those parents could see me now… they would see me sticking my big fat foot right in my mouth!  Have you ever had one of those toddlers…  you know the ones that are so stubborn and strong willed that you are practicing your compromising and negotiating skills constantly?  For a while I didn’t think they actually existed… yes I really was that foolish overconfident in my abilities.   I figured those kids were only those kids because the adult didn’t quite know what they were doing.  Oh geez… so foolish.  I am now repenting of my pride!

So you probably guessed it.  I now have one of those toddlers.  I have to tell you this third little boy of mine is no doubt the cutest most adorable little guy you will ever interact with.  He is fascinated with everything and loves life so dearly that when he runs to give you a giant squeeze because he is so excited to find his lost matchbox car he lost earlier… I mean really there are no words for the joy he brings us.  With that being said, he was the most challenging child to potty train I have ever come across!!!

So this is my journal in potty-training the stubborn and un-potty-trainable.

Pre Potty-Training:  Making sure he was ready.I could tell my little guy was ready.  In fact, he was ready before I was.  He was getting jealous that his big brothers got to go potty.  He would bring me a diaper and tell me he needed a diaper change.  He would often wake up dry from his nap.  One day he came and asked me to take him potty even.  It was in the middle of Christmas craziness so I convinced him he didn’t need to use the potty and decided I would start him on the potty once the holidays were over.  Boy… jokes on me now huh!

Preparation:  Potty charts and stickers
So I got him a big foam poster board and some Lightning McQeen stickers (he is obsessed with cars).  I divided the board up in half and put “pee” on one half and “poo” on the other.  We then had a talk about how he is such a big boy and can go pee pee and poo poo on the potty now.  No more diapers, just big boy undies!  I explained how he would get to put a sticker on his board every time he went potty in the big boy potty.  I showed his new cool undies and talked about how we didn’t want to get our new Mcqueen undies yucky.  You get the point.  Anyway, he was excited about the stickers and the undies and was ready to go.

Day 1

So here we go!  He wakes up we take off his diaper and have him sit.  I am a big fan of the little potties that sit on the regular potty.  I didn’t want to train him on a small potty on the floor and then have to transfer him to the big potty.  Cold turkey is the way to go.  They just get confused if they are sometimes allowed to pee in their diaper and other times not.  It is a hard week, a bit messy, definitely frustrating, but I swear it is the best and quickest way.

So the hardest party about potty-training is getting the toddler to understand what you are expecting of him.  He hasn’t seen himself ever go potty and up to this point has sort of let his body do what it wants without much thought from him.  I know I needed to get him on the potty at the right time and then cheer and dance like a crazy lady to reinforce his success.  So we sat… I read every book I could get him to sit through, sang songs, clipped his fingernails, whatever I could do to get him to sit and wait.  Then I let him run around in just his undies  for 15-20 minutes before returning to the potty.  And the cycle repeats throughout the day.

The first time he peed in his undies and he ran to me saying, “oh no… I spilled.”  Not sure he understood where the  “spill” came from, but it was pretty cute anyway.  Each time I took him to the potty and he was already wet, I say “Oh no!  We pee in the potty, not in our undies!”  Then we sit on the potty for as long as he can stand it… sometimes we alternate between standing and sitting.

So after a full day of this, I have to admit I was incredibly exhausted and had no stickers on his chart to show for it.  I had never previously gone a full day without one potty success in my potty-training experience.

I still felt okay though.  In past potty training experiences I have always felt like giving up after the 2nd day, so I promised myself to keep going with it.

Day 2

Same thing as yesterday… lots of sitting, but not success!  Seriously!  I was vigorous too!  I made sure he went in every 15 minutes and kept him occupied for at least 15 minutes at a time.  I could tell that by the afternoon he was really frustrated too.  He didn’t want to keep sitting on the potty for so long.  I started to reward him for just sitting in order to keep it a positive thing.  Lots of nice words and one M&M for his effort.  This worked for a time, but my stubborn boy decided he didn’t care and told me he did not want to “spill” or “pee pee” or any sort of thing in the potty.   Each time we sat on the potty and I asked him to push and try to go potty he would scream, “No!  I don’t want too!”

I told myself, that I was okay and reminded myself that day 2 is always the worst and that the trick is to push through it no matter what.  Tomorrow would be better.  We’ll see.

Day 3

So I woke up with the goal of ensuring he had some success today.  We were both exhausted and I didn’t want either of our efforts the last two days to be in vain.  I was desperate for success and tried getting him to sit for longer spans on the potty.   At one point during this time sitting, my dogs started being obnoxious and wanted to go out, but I knew he had to go potty at some point and didn’t want to miss it.  Finally, I enlisted my 4 year old.  I had him come in the bathroom with Andy and told him to tell me if he saw any pee pee come out.

I ran to let the dogs out to do their business.  I stood at the back door waiting for them while keeping a good listening ear toward the bathroom.  The dogs ran back inside just as I heard my four year old yell, “He did it mommy!  I saw pee pee!”  Doh!  I had missed it and only had the word of a four year old as proof that it happened.  Not wanting to miss any opportunity to cheer and give some praise after two long days, I decide to celebrate completely!  We picked out a sticker for our board and we did a jumping shaking high fiving potty dance!

The rest of the day was uneventful, only I noticed that he was having less and less accidents.  Not that he was having success in the potty, but he was using less undies throughout the day.  Finally, some sort of measurable progress!  He has figured out that he is not supposed to wet his pants and has figured out how to hold it.  In fact, he only had one accident before his nap and that was when I was making lunch and not paying attention to him.  The little bugger… he knew just when to go and get away with it.  Yes, it would be better if he had figured out how to let it loose, but still… progress is progress.  We went into the next day a little more hopeful.

Day 4

So today was interesting.  I decided to try the naked approach to switch things up a bit.  I have heard a lot of people use it and although I have never needed to use this method on the other boys I figured it was worth a shot.  Backfire!  He ended up peeing all over himself and the floor while running around the dining room- living room-kitchen loop.  He then slipped in his own pool of pee and ended up sprawled out on the floor crying.  I calmed him down and had him help me clean up his mess (this has always been a rule of mine… no better way to show him the consequences of peeing his pants than having him help clean it up).  He was begging to wear his undies after this.

So strange that this isn’t taking by now!  I know he is ready… right?!?!?!  Now I am doubting myself even though I know he showed every sign of preparedness.   So we decided to play it cool and let him relax a bit doing his favorite thing…. Taking a bath.  He was really excited and ran upstairs to the tub.  He took a detour to his room and grabbed a diaper first and told me he needed a diaper.  What?  No you don’t… you are a big boy.  No more diapers.  That was random.  I put him in the tub.  A few minutes of splashing and playing and he is calling, “eeewww!  Yucky in the bath tub!”  Sure enough, he has just pooped in the tub.  Okay so a kid who goes to get his diaper for me just before he is about to poo…. He is so ready.  He can do this!  This is progress!  Motivation for me to keep moving!

Later on, we finally had a successful “spill” in the potty followed by lots of cheering and another sticker on his board.  I didn’t miss it this time!  I had a front row seat and made sure he saw it all too.

Day 5

Ugh!  Could it really by day 5 without much success?  My hubby and I started discussing options.  Should we cut our losses and move on?  It had been a very long week so far and we had all been trapped in the house during this tiring cycle.  We hadn’t quite decided what to do and I just wasn’t sure it was in his best interest to give up these last few days of hard work… not just yet.

We started the day off in the bath tub.   I stripped him down and stood him in there.  What the heck… “make pee pee Andy” I said.  He smiled up at me and said, “okay mommy.  I make pee pee in the bath tub.”  Then just like that he peed!  What the $#%%!!!!!?!!?!?!  Just like that!?!?!?!   He jumped excitedly clapping and laughing and cheering for himself… this same cheer and excitement that always melts my heart.  So I was mad… he has seriously been holding out on me.  The stubborn kid!!!!

So what am I missing?  Is it the potty itself he objects to?  Is it the fact that he just wants to do it on his own terms?  Should I get him a small potty for the floor, even though I have always found them unnecessary?  One thing is sure… I am not giving up.  Not now when it is so obvious he can do this!  I decide to try the small potty.  Maybe it is just small enough that he can stand over it and feel in control enough to use it, after all he has to stand on a stool in the real potty and maybe he just isn’t comfortable that way.  The problem is, the hubby has left for work and I am on my own with all the kids and have to be at the bus stop at 11am for the kindergarten bus, then its lunch time and nap time, and then my first grader will be getting off the bus.

So I am ashamed to say it, but there was just no way to go get the potty today.  Instead, each time he was ready to go potty I took him to the bath tub and told him to go.  I know right…  terrible, terrible, but ask yourself what you would do if you were me! ?!?!? At this point I am as humble as I can be with my failure right before my eyes and I am willing to do anything!  Each time I put him in the tub, he smiles and goes pee pee followed by his adorable little jumping excitement and high fiving action.

So this is where we end day 5.  He has stopped having accidents.  He knows how to hold it.  He knows when poo poo is coming, but hasn’t yet gotten it in the potty (fun right?!?!).  He knows how to make the pee pee come out and is willing to do it when asked… as long as it is in the bathtub!  Oh geez!  The best part is how he runs (visualize his little plump legs going as fast as they can through the house) back and forth to his brothers or his daddy for the next five minutes to give high fives and tell them how he peed in the bathtub!   What could tomorrow possible bring!  I obviously can’t let this continue!

Day 6

All right, we got the little potty and we are ready to go.  Of course he hates the little potty and refuses to even stand near it!  Seriously kid!  So my hubby had a great idea and decided to put the little potty in the bathtub.  Ha!  He had no problem going on the little potty as long as it was in the tub.    Ridiculous!  Luckily the gimmicky star stickers that you pull out of the little potty and stick on the back won him over.  By the end of the day he was peeing like a champ on that thing without having to put it int he bathtub!  No more bathtub!  Thankgoodness!    Great day!  We finally ventured out with him in his big boy undies.  We went to the library and then ran a quick errand.  The trip took an hour and half.  He held it the entire time and was ready to go potty as soon as we got home!  Real success at last!

One Month Later

Poopy training took a bit longer.  We just had to be consistent and up the rewards a bit.  We went and got a few matchbox cars (he is pretty obsessed with those) and hung them up on the wall near the bathroom.  Every time he passed by the cars and asked for them we told him he could pick one if he made poo poo in the potty.  He tried, but for a while just felt more comfortable waiting until I put on his diaper at bedtime.  We tried lots of things including letting him go naked from the waist down.  Honestly though, only time and patience helped.  One day he just came to us and said he needed to go poop.  We put him on the potty just as we always do when we think he needs to go and the crazy thing was…  he just went.  No problem.

It has been a long road and he has by far been the hardest child I have ever potty trained.  That’s saying a lot coming from the once arrogant professional potty trainer.  I will take this humble time and try to hold on to it…  I have a feeling that I will be needing it for a long time while raising this little monkey.

Back to School – Are You Ready?

Does anybody remember this ad? It’s that time of year again…the most wonderful time of the year for parents who have tons to get done and kiddos with too much energy! 

Getting my kids prepared to go anywhere can be a challenge –  Even though they’re younger, I want to make sure that they’re ready for whatever they might be learning and help them as much as possible at home so that they will be successful in the classroom.We’re a pretty busy, active family so we try to do some lessons at home and get out to museums and parks for learning in action. I can handle teaching them the basics, but once it’s actually time to pack up their pencils for elementary school, I get a bit sentimental.

More than anything, I want my children to be able to learn how to be independent learners who are confident in the classroom. I want them to take an interest in learning and feel comfortable asking questions. While I can provide guidance and assistance in some areas, I understand that school provides a complete learning experience, both educationally and socially.

When preparing for the first day of school, here are a few things our family does:

  • Purchase all the school supplies early.  I hate waiting to the last minute and fighting with other parents for that last eraser at Target
  • Continually build my children’s wardrobe.   Even though my children grow quickly, I like to buy their clothes through out the summer.
  • Complete Summer reading.  We help “motivate” our children with summer reading so that their brain keeps working at some level through the summer months
  • Start early bed-times a few weeks early.  There is nothing worse than fighting your children the night before the first day of school about if it’s time to go to sleep or not.

One of the things I’ve thought about doing this year is bringing in a tutor for a few hours to give my children a “boost” session.  Maybe for just an hour or so to see if they’re really ready for school, or at a minimum to help me see where I should spend time with them the first month or so of school.  The DC area has a number of tutoring services that each have their own unique approach.  For example, I remember seeing on the news details about a tutoring company, Ashley Tutors, providing specific in-home services to residence in the DC area.

I think this year we’ll work on a few topics before school starts and see how the children react to it.  We may call in the re-enforcements later in the year if they struggle to listen to mom and dad’s advice.

10 Ways To Give Your Child an Academic Advantage

My husband works in online marketing and, as part of that, creates some pretty interesting infographics from time-to-time.  Generally, they aren’t the type of thing that fit in well with the posts we have on Enchanted Mommy, but this one is the exception.

It is titled “10 Ways To Give Your Child an Academic Advantage”, and it has some nice reminders on little things we can all do to enrich our children’s lives.

Give Your Child An Academic Advantage
Academic Advantage Infographic by InfoCarnivore.com.

My Sweet Girl Turns 3!

I began to think that I should take more videos of my kids.  I often (or always) forget.  So, I found some questions that I could ask my kids on each of their birthdays and see how much the answers change each year.  I found some cool questions here.  Here is a video of my girl answering her questions!


Here are the questions and her answers:
What is your name? Ella
When were you born? June 8
How old are you? Three
Who is your mommy? Dana
What does your mommy do? does she play with you? Yeah
Who is your daddy? Brian
What does your daddy do? play with me all day
What is your favorite color? Purple not pink
What do you want to be when you grow up? A cat
What is your favorite food? Mac n cheese no I don’t like mac n cheese I like macaroni and cheese
What food do you not like? Mushrooms on pizza
What is your favorite animal? cows
Where do you want to live when you grow up? Home Depot is 22
What do mommy and daddy do after you go to bed? Work Out
What does daddy say? Can you please go to bed
What does mommy say? Can you please go to bed right now
What is your favorite song? she sang Jesus Loves Me
What is your favorite movie? Tangled even Linlegh likes Tangled
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Chocolate
Where is your favorite place to eat? outside
Who is your favorite person? Anna is but she makes a lot of mess
Who is your best friend? Linleigh and Sarah
What is your favorite book? Spider book
Who are your sister? Anna
Where did Anna come from? The old house
What is your favorite thing to do? Clean up the blocks (she’s so off on this one)

Lastly, here’s a sneak peak of us and Ella at her 3rd birthday party!  It was such a great party, post coming soon!

pajama party

A fun 3rd birthday party!