Enchanted Mommy

Learning the Letter “I”

The letter “I” is an important one for preschoolers to learn. However, this letter can be tricky because, like the other vowels, “I” makes two different sounds.

You can hear the “long I” in many words your preschooler already knows – words like “smile”, “time”, and “night-night”.  “Short I” also crops up in plenty of common words like “fish”, “sit”, and “tickle.”

For this letter with TWO sounds, it only makes sense to have TWO different fun activities. First up – homemade Long-I ice cream!

Whipping up a micro-batch of ice cream at home is quick, fun, and uses real ingredients you probably already have on hand. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 gallon-size plastic bag
  • 1 sandwich-size plastic bag
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla 
  • Ice
  • ¼ cup salt (rock salt or kosher salt work best)

Add your half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla to the sandwich-size bag. Close it up, eliminating any air from the bag as best you can. (Make sure the bag is completely sealed – you don’t want salt getting in and ruining the ice cream!)

Place your bag of ice cream mix into the gallon-size bag. Fill the gallon-size bag about halfway with ice, then add your salt. Seal up the gallon-size bag and shake, shake, shake! After shaking for 6-8 minutes, remove the sandwich-size bag. Rinse it well with cool water to remove all the salt, then squeeze into a bowl and enjoy.

For your next batch, add a little chocolate syrup, peppermint extract, fresh fruit, or crushed candy. You could even try a dash of food coloring to create something totally unexpected. You definitely won’t find blue vanilla with strawberry and chocolate chips in any grocery store.

When your little ice cream chef is ready to move on, share the coloring page below. See how many “I” words you can find together.

Letter I Activities for preschool children

Learning the Letter “E”

So many exciting and extraordinary words start with the letter E. For preschoolers who are starting to work with the alphabet it’s always fun to mix in new and creative activities that involve the letters of the alphabet. Today we are sharing with you fun activities to do with preschoolers that involve the letter E.

This activity requires very little mess, which also means very little clean up for you, mom. For this activity you’ll just need some colored pencils or crayons and the free to use picture for coloring.

We will be coloring a beautiful majestic elephant and a cute egg. Both of these things start with the letter E.  While sharing them with your preschooler you can help them make the letter E sound and invite them to color in the picture.

Letter E Activities for Preschool Children
Letter “E” Activities for Preschool

While things in the world may not seem so positive right now, elephants are beautiful creatures that symbolize many great things. While your kids are coloring their pictures, take this time to talk with them about elephants and how people believe they symbolize good luck, power, and wisdom – all things that are great to be reminded of.

“Eggs” are great for helping preschoolers learn the letter e because of the many related words that start with E.   When it comes to eggs – you (e)at them, they give you (e)nergy and they are (e)xtra delicious. Make your egg colorful and fun! Something that really shows your personality. 

Letter E Activities for Preschool Children
Letter “E” Activities for Preschool

In the comments below, feel free to share other activities that can help preschoolers learn the letter E.  

(E)ight other fun words that start with E:

  1. Earth
  2. Empathy
  3. Excitement 
  4. Elbow
  5. Engine
  6. Eye
  7. Exit 
  8. Entry

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween (a day late)!  I love going with themes for my kids for Halloween.  Last year, it wasn’t happening with my two year old.  I was ecstatic when they all agreed to be a blind mouse.  Here they are!

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I just love Halloween!

In case you’re wondering where I got their costumes, their leotards are from leotard boutique dot come, sunglasses are from Children’s Place, I bought rods at A.C. Moore and spray painted them gray, mouse ears, tail and tights are from Target.

A Fun Valentine Card

My 4 year old is in the Gummy Bear class.  We went with the “beary special” theme.  She has worked long and hard to make enough for her class.  I think they turned out pretty cute!

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I got the clear wrappers from a craft store in the cake section (they are really for cake pops).

Check out some other great ideas here!

Monkey Birthday Cake!

I recently made this monkey cake for a special 2 year old in my life.  She loves monkey’s and is constantly singing “No More Monkey’s Jumping On the Bed.”  It was pretty time consuming making all the stars for the fur, but it turned out awesome!

I researched lots of different monkey cakes, but in the end I used this one from My Daily SAHM Life as my model. I know I could have just ordered the monkey cake pan, but who wants to pay for a pan you will probably never use again???

I used 2 cake mix boxes and made 4 round cakes.  I used Wilton’s buttercream icing and Wilton’s food colorings to get the desired colors.

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1.  Make 4 rounds cakes.  Take them out of their cake pans, wrap them in nonstick tinfoil or parchment paper and stick them in the freezer.

2.  Using construction paper, cut out your pattern.  I numbered each piece so I knew which cake I would cut it from to make sure all the pieces fit.

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3.  Once your cake is good and frozen, use your paper pattern to cut the cakes into their shapes.  Freeze the parts until you are ready to start frosting.

4.  Do a thin crumb coat frist.  Once the crumb coat is dry you can start frosting!  I used a basic star tip.

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5.  The tail is made from Tootsie Rolls.  Just heat them in the microwave for a few seconds then mold them how you want.

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Pumpkin Carving – Halloween Is This Week!

Every holiday comes too fast for me.  I feel like I never get to do all that I want with the girls before it is over.  This year I wanted to let them choose what they wanted on their pumpkins.

I picked up some pretty good pumpkins at our grocery store (Harris Teeter).  They were pretty big and they were 2/$10.00 – I didn’t have to pay by the pound.

We let the girls pick what they wanted on their pumpkin.  My five month old obviously couldn’t pick, so husband just drew and carved (see middle pumpkin).  My four year old wanted Hello Kitty and my two year old wanted Dora.  I’d say they turned out pretty good.

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In case you’re wondering, we did the obvious (obvious that we never thought to do before) and googled “Dora pumpkin stencil”.  It took my husband to the Nick Jr. site that has a TON of characters.  He also just googled “Hello Kitty pumpkin stencil” and Ella chose the one she liked best.

Here’s Ella with her stencil:

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What you need for the stencil is:

  • pumpkin
  • pumpkin carver, my neighbor let us borrow her electric one.
  • Big spoon for all the guts
  • stencil of your choice
  • lots of tape
  • candle (I used votive ones)

After we carved them, we noticed a lot of light wasn’t shining through, so I had to go back and kind of thin out the inside lining of the pumpkin and make the lines a little wider.  I’m not sure if all pumpkins are really thick, but ours seemed to be.

I will say that it was pretty tedious, but I was really happy with how cute they turned out.  In the end, husband and I did all the work, while these two ran around and looked cute.

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This was a no brainer pic.

Here’s a close-up!

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Happy Halloween!

A Fun 4th Birthday Party

I was so sad that it rained on Ella’s party day.  We have this awesome water slide that I wanted to use along with so many other outdoor fun stuff.  We were literally scrambling the day of to move the party inside and find fun things for the kids to do.  It all ended up great BECAUSE I made it simple, oh so simple!  If you recall, last year we did a pancake and pajama party (awesome theme!) for her.  This year, I went with the outdoor fun theme, but she insisted on pony plates and a cupcake piñata.  I did it on a Tuesday afternoon because I live in NoVa and everyone here is so busy on the weekends and only had stay at home mom friends and their kids.  Because of this, it was so chill and so much fun for all the kids.  Here’s my little princess ready for her party!

She could not WAIT for her friends to get here.

She could not WAIT for her friends to get here.

Husband, the balloon maker, did balloons for all the kids when they arrived!  They also jumped in the bounce house and played with toys in the basement until everyone arrived and got settled in.

A party guest with her balloon!

A party guest with her balloon!

Luckily I had a game leftover from her party last year that we didn’t use, so I brought it out.  It was pin the heart on the necklace.

Ella's putting her heart on.

Ella’s putting her heart on.

I also had bought this little fun face kit for Anna’s party that we didn’t use, so I brought it out too.  These are my nephews and niece!

This was fun!

This was fun!

Next, we went upstairs for food and cake!  I got pizza, watermelon, gogurts, capri suns, animal crackers and goldfish.  There were 14 kids inside my house, but it really couldn’t have gone any smoother.  Luckily, all the moms are my friends too so they all helped with serving food.  As a host, I ALWAYS suggest feeding the parents that come.  They take time out of their day to bring their child to your party as well as buying the gift.  I also always serve a meal or at least a semi-meal.  For me, it’s party throwing etiquette.  Kids shouldn’t leave parties hungry.  Of course, I convinced Ella to get a cookie cake.  Oh so delicious.  It was from Sam’s Club ($16 !).

Ella blowing out her candles.

Ella blowing out her candles.  Notice her outdoor themed cake.  Boo.

Oh, since I made a last minute trip to Wal-Mart for any party ideas, I bought these blow things for $1 and some change.  The kids LOVED them!

After cake, blow toy!

After cake, blow toy!

After cake, we went to our garage and did the piñata.  I hope piñatas never get old.  The kids LOOOOOOOVE them.  Trust me on this one.

Best party item.

Best party item.

Lastly, and I’m SO mad, I bought each of the kids a bubble wand as a favor and my phone somehow deleted the pics or maybe I did it.  Okay, the wand was $1 and it was PERRRRRFECT.  They all opened them at the party and played with them in the driveway because of course it stopped thundering at the end of her party.  They had so much fun with the bubbles.  Do it at your next party, trust me on that one.  That and for sure a piñata.

A few tips:

These kids are 4.  They love the cheapo things such as party hats, blow things and bubbles.

Piñatas are always a hit.  They do cost a bit (approx. $20 for piñata and $20 for candy)

Don’t clean your house before a kid party.  Of course pick up, but be ready to do a deep cleaning afterwards.  No one cares, trust me.

Try to have help.  I’m telling you, my friends were beyond amazing.  They all chipped in and helped so much.

Why not do a play date?!  It was great that so many people could come and I bet it would have been a lot harder on a weekend.

Try Sam’s Clubs cookie cakes… Bwhahahahaha.  SODANGGOOD!

 

This was another successful party!  Love her!

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes You Just Need a Mommycation!

We got a phone call two weeks ago from our builder telling us the house will not be ready by our agreed upon closing date after all.  Closing on the house was pushed back until the end of the month.  Boo!

We currently live with my sister and her family of 5 in a two bedroom, one bathroom house while our house is being built.  That is 10 people in said 2 bedroom house.  Yep.

So you can imagine how I was feeling after having the closing date delayed. Ha!  I decided to take a little mommycation for a couple days.  Needed to get out of the house and have a little luxury alone time if you know what I mean!

At first I felt bad about going… who takes a vacation by themselves for no reason?!?!  My husband was really sweet about it though and encouraged me to go and have some fun.    He took over everything with the boys and even babysat my 18 month old nephew for me since I watch him on weekdays for my sister.

This gazebo by the pool had my name written all over it!

This gazebo by the pool had my name written all over it!

I had such a good time!  I got a hotel in Orlando (couple hours from us) and just chilled!  I slept in everyday, got some fresh highlights, got a pedicure, went shopping at the outlets, and sat by the pool to read.  It was AMAZING!

Technically it was was only 2 nights, but I am so glad I did it.  I came home refreshed and motivated.  I think I can make it now…  8 more days until we close!  We have been waiting since August, so what is 8 more days now that I am refreshed and de-stressed!

Fresh highlights! Woot Woot!

Fresh highlights! Woot Woot!

Nothing beats a good foot rub and a pedicure!

Nothing beats a good foot rub and a pedicure!

Eating healthy by the pool.  Yes please!

Eating healthy by the pool. Yes please!

 

Baby Gender Reveal Cake Party!

No, it’s not my baby reveal party.  It is my sisters.  Just had to clarify that before going any further! Ha!  My sister likes to do things old school… she doesn’t like to find out what she is having, she does not like to get induced, and she does not like to have an epidural.  She would love to just stay home and have her baby at home or in the bath tub with her immediate family (she is so much cooler than I am!).

Her family started pressuring her to find out the sex of the baby very early… especially her 9-yr old daughter.  After listening to her kids and husband beg and beg, she finally agreed to having a cake reveal party!

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We took the envelope from the doctor in to the bakery and requested blue icing in the center of the cake if it says boy on the card and pink frosting if it says girl.  Of course, my sister being a naturalist didn’t want to trust them alone with the information.  She insisted that my husband take a look at the card as well… just in case the bakery wanted to be funny and make the icing purple! ha!

Anyway, off to the party! We  had a lot of people there and had the party at a park along the inter-coastal.  Beautiful place!  Those guessing it would be a girl got on one side and those guessing boy got on the other.

This is the side cheering and voting for a girl!

This is the side cheering and voting for a girl!

Team "boy" was not nearly as enthusiastic.

Team “boy” was not nearly as enthusiastic.

My sister and two of her beautiful blondies!  They all wanted to cut into the cake together.

My sister and two of her beautiful blondies! They all wanted to cut into the cake together.

Here they go… cutting

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My cute little nieces face when she first saw the color on the inside of the cake… priceless!!!!!

What the!!!!!!!  She could have sworn she was getting a baby sister!

I bet you can guess what she saw!

And it is…

Blue baby blue!

Blue Baby Blue!!!

Just in case there was any doubt, the doctor included this picture in the sealed envelope… definitely a boy!

No doubt here!

No doubt here!

Don't worry, she eventually cheered up once she got to eat cake!

Don’t worry, she eventually cheered up once she got to eat cake!

Here’s my sister… she is happy to have a boy, but not especially happy to find out early.  Lucky for us, she is humoring us well!

My sister with her blue frosted cake!

My sister with her blue frosted cake!

 

 

 

 

 

Universal Studios with Young Kids

I have a 7yr old, 5yr old, and a 3yr old.  We just moved to Florida late August and have slowly been making our way through the different tourist sites and amusement parks here.

We did Disney, Sea World, and the water parks first and we have just now made our way through Universal.  We kept putting off because everyone told us that Universal is best for older kids.  We finally went and I have to say it was an amazing time!  Despite the ages of our young kids, we had plenty to do and it was one of our most enjoyable trips yet!

Universal with younger kids ages 3, 5, and 7.

Universal with younger kids ages 3, 5, and 7.

We broke the trip up into two days since there are two separate Universal parks.  You can get a park hopper pass if you’d rather go between both parks on the same day.  We wanted to take our time and experience everything.  The two parks are Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios.

Universal Island’s of Adventure is more thrill rides and roller coasters.  It has several different themed areas: Jurassic park, Harry Potter World, Dr. Seuss Landing, Marvel Super Hero Island, The Los Continent, and Toon Lagoon.

We loved all of it!  There were only three rides my 7 year could not ride, Incredible Hulk Coaster, Dragon Challenge, and Doctor Doom’s Fearfall.  There was one more coaster (Harry Potter Coaster) that my 7 year old road that my 5 year old could not. Then two more that everyone but our 3 yr old could ride.  There were plenty of things for all of us to do together!

The Jurassic Park.  They loved exploring the caves, climbing the nets, and walking the bridges!  Make sure to plan for at least an hour at this place!

The Jurassic Park. They loved exploring the caves, climbing the nets, and walking the bridges! Make sure to plan for at least an hour at this place!

It was really easy to use the parent swap as well.  Ride with everyone tall enough while the other parent waits in the exit lane, then as you exit you switch places.  Parent waiting goes straight on ride while you wait with kids to young.  The best part is that they let the older kids ride again with the other parent so the kids got to ride those rides twice!

There are plenty of rides for the younger kids!

There are plenty of rides for the younger kids!

My favorite part of the park for my 3yr old and 5 yr old was Dr. Seuss Landing and Camp Jurassic in Jurassic Park Land.  Dr. Seuss landing had a ton of younger kid rides (trains, a flying fish ride, interactive play area, etc..).  Camp Jurassic was this huge park with slides, climbing nets, and caves to explore.  We could have stayed at that one spot all day!

Fun in Dr. Seuss Landing!

Fun in Dr. Seuss Landing!

My favorite part for my 5yr old and 7yr old kids would be the 3D Spiderman ride and Harry Potter World!  It was pretty cool!  We also love seeing all the Marvel characters come out riding four wheelers!  My boys are obsessed with the Avengers so they thought this was “so so so AWESOME!!!!!!”

I would highly recommend paying the extra money for the EXPRESS pass at Universal Islands of Adventure if it is a crowded day.  It is worth it when you consider how much time you will have to wait in line.  The express line will move 3 times faster!  I watched them load 3 full coasters from the express line to everyone one coaster from the regular line.  It was killer!

Universal Studios was awesome too!  This park wasn’t thrill rides as much as experiences.  There was one ride only that my 7 year old could not ride.  It was the only big coaster in  the park (Hollywood Rip Ride Rock it).  He was literally a “hair” too short.  Besides that ride,The Revenge of the Mummy was the only other ride my 5 yr old could not ride and only two more rides my 3yr old could not do (Despicable Me and Men in Black).

Just a "hair" too short for the big coaster!  He will probably hate me for this picture!

Just a “hair” too short for the big coaster! He will probably hate me for this picture!

There was a ton we could all do together and we used the parent swap for everything else.  Fieval’s Playground and Curious George Goes to Town playground are at the top of my list!  Kids loved it and we took a whole hour playing at each of these places!  We pretty much loved everything in this entire park.  Twister and Mummy were awesome and would rate more in the “thrill” area (my 3yr old and 5yr old closed their eyes at several parts).  Distaster was fun, but more of a comedy than thrilling.

Seriously, so many AWESOME 3D rides!

Seriously, so many AWESOME 3D rides!

The Men in Black ride is a shoot aliens as you ride a 6 person car and see who has the highest score at the end.  It was fun and the kids loved it, but I am still trying to figure out why my 3yr old couldn’t ride.  I wouldn’t recommend taking the younger kids to see the 3D Terminator 2 show.  It is not just the robots getting shot at and some of the robots still look human.

We used this fabulous calendar that tells you what the crowds will be like on any given day.  We went when it said the crowds would be moderate and had a great time and felt like we got to do everything we wanted with the kids riding some of their favorites twice when using the parent swap.

This part of the Curious George Play park was so much fun!  Balls everywhere for you to collect and load nerf guns.  We stayed here for over an hour while the boys had nerf gun wars!

This part of the Curious George Play park was so much fun! Balls everywhere for you to collect and load nerf guns. We stayed here for over an hour while the boys had nerf gun wars!

Make sure to save an hour for this place too!

Make sure to save an hour for this place too!

Meeting Transformers and the Simpsons.

Meeting Transformers and the Simpsons.

My 3yr old's first coaster!  Plenty to do here for even the younger kiddos!

My 3yr old’s first coaster! Plenty to do here for even the younger kiddos!

I would highly recommend going to Universal!  Ignore people when they say it isn’t fun for younger kids! We LOVED it!!!!!

MY BEST TIPS

1.  Use the parent swap!  Kids get to ride twice and it is so easy!

2.  Check out the crowds calendar and try to go on a lower crowd day.

3.  Suck it up and by the EXPRESS pass at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.  It is expensive, but when you are already paying so much anyway, it is worth it to pay a little more to shave hours off your total wait times.

4.    Bring food!  You can bring in all the snacks and drinks you want (no glass containers).  Keep the kids full and spend less on food in the parks.

5.  Don’t skip the parades or character greets.  The characters are so much fun and more in this era.  It is worth giving the kids some time to meet and greet!

Goof balls can't resist a chance to pose for the camera!

Goof balls can’t resist a chance to pose for the camera!