Enchanted Mommy

Nags Head, NC – A Great Place For A Family Vacation!

Now that I’ve slept in my bed one night, I’m so ready to be back in our 8 bedroom on the beach house with the 20 people I care about most.    Last week was pure bliss.  We stayed here in the OBX.  I’m one of four kids and we are all married and have kids, so it made one heck of a good time.

beach family photo

Our family! All 21 of us! (I'm the only one with pink shorts!)

I would definitely encourage all of you east coasters to head to the Outer Banks.  There are several fun things to do!

1.  Of course, enjoy the beach.  We sure did!

buried at the beach

My brother (the biggest kid there) buried my 3 year old!

2.  and…. the water!

Nags Head ocean

Playing in the ocean!

3.  Take the kids to the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.  This is a great break from the beach.  There is so much to see and you even get to touch animals.  This is my niece and nephews holding turtles!

north carolina aquarium

They got to hold turtles!

4.  Fly a kite!  We did this three times and it was so much fun!  The wind was perfect on the beach!

Flying a kite

Flying a kite in Nags Head.

5.  Check out the outlets for a couple of hours.  These we really close to our beach house.  While they aren’t the greatest, it gave us a good couple hours of shopping!

6.  Eat, EAt and EATTTTTTTTTTTT.  We went to three restaurants while we were there.  My most favorite was Blue Moon Beach Grill.  Oh my gosh, it was SOOOOOO good.  I would recommend it 1k times over and over.  Do not miss out on this strip mall (yes, it’s in a strip mall, but you WON’T be disappointed) restaurant.  We also ate at Miller’s Waterfront.  It was also really good.  The talked about hush puppies really were amazing.  We also ate at Captain George’s, while it’s good, it’s one of those places where you feel like you have to gorge on food to get your $31 worth.  I definitely got my money’s worth on crab legs, but my stomach paid for it later.

7.  Check out The Lost Colony.  My parents liked it so much that they went three times!

8.  Check out Jockey’s Ridge.  We had planned to do this the last night, but it rained.  Boo.

9.  Get a house with a pool!  It was totally worth it to us.

Daddy swimming with his girl!

10.  Go fishing!  There are so many piers that offer rentals and it is a great place to do it!

Now, go book your trip!  If you don’t have kids in school, you can save A LOT of money by going late August.  Heck, maybe we’ll go again!

Cowboy Lesson 1: Learn to Shoot and Climb a Tractor!


We are having a blast out here in Utah visiting all the family we have.  We have mostly been staying in Heber City with my in-laws where they boys get to help Grandpa with the horses, grandma with the gardening, and help with chores around the property.  It has been really good for the kids and they have had a lot of fun as well.

They are really working hard on becoming REAL cowboys!  First they got their hats so they would look official and now they are working on some cowboy adventures!

I took them to their Great Grandfather’s Ranch in Coalville, Utah this week.  He has a beautiful cabin in the mountains surrounded by  his 320 acres of hills and pastures.  So fun!  He taught Casey how to shoot (just a BB gun… he’s only 7yrs old after all).

They used some soda cans as targets and had a great time!  Casey never hit his target, but he loved it anyway!

Great Grandpa showing him how it's done! He hit the target right away!


Showing Casey how to work the gun.


Here he goes!


Happy with almost success... he missed, but a gust of wind came and blew the can they were shooting at on the ground. Casey thinks that should count as a hit.

The younger boys didn’t get to learn to shoot, but they did have a blast climbing the big hill next the the cabin, falling in the muddy creek (pronounced crick in these parts) and climbing all over the old tractor.

I got a lot of practice with my camera… my two year old now hides his face the moment he sees me pull out my camera.  The little stink!  I have to be quick with him!

Tyson thinks he is the man up on that tractor.


One of the few pics of Andy I could get!


Andy loved helping close the gates to keep the cows in the right pasture. I was sneaky and took this pic with my 300mm lens while standing really far away on the porch of the cabin.


The boys with their Great Grandpa. This will forever be a cherished memory of mine. Notice Andy eating a cookie... it was the only way I could convince him to be in the picture!


It wasn't all cowboy stuff... Great Grandpa also drove them all around his property on his ATV. The boys sure think he is a pretty cool Grandpa! Great Grandpa, who is now 83 years old is still A LOT of fun!!!



Making Cowboys out of City Boys!

This summer we have set off on an adventure!  First we drove across the country in our mini-van… no joke.  Three boys, me and the hubby, and our dog Koda.  We started in Northern Virginia (Washington DC area) and ended in Utah.  The kids did great in the car and we had a good time being silly, watching movies, and singing songs!

We made it to Utah on day 3.  Heber City, Utah to be exact.  When we arrived, Grandpa took the boys to pick out their own cowboy hats to wear around the ranch all summer! The boys had so much fun trying on hats!

Afterward we got a lot of really good cowboy pics around the ranch!  Here are a few of my favorites…

This little guy continues to be such a ham long after the other boys are sick of me taking pics of them.

We love this one of our two year old because it captures the essence of his grouchy personality.

More posts to come on how the teach these city boys from the DC area how to work on a ranch!  We will be staying here for several weeks then will be off to Florida… another long drive back across the country!

Ella’s 3rd Princess Pancake and Pajama Party

I know I’ve mentioned a million times how much I love throwing birthday parties for my girls.  This one was no exception at all!  It was so much fun!!!  In the planning process, I wanted to have a party that wouldn’t take up everyone’s Saturday or a time that would conflict with naps.  So, I had it at 9 am.  This gave me the idea to have the kids come in their pajamas and serve pancakes.  From there, her theme quickly became a Princess Pancake and Pajama Party!  I will explain how the party went because I used to be a PE teacher and I know that organized chaos is fine, but still every minute needs to be accounted for.  So, here we go!

9-9:15: People arrived and all of them had a pillowcase with their name on it (I just used puffy paint) and they were able to color on it with fabric markers!  Here are a couple of pictures of them working on their pillowcases!  I also had a banana sitting with their pillowcase just in case they came ready to eat right off.

decorating pillowcases

My mom helping Ella with her pillowcase!

Jamie's sons, Tyson and Andy decorating their pillowcases!

9:15-9:35: Everyone ate!  For the kids, we had pancakes, watermelon, bacon and juice boxes.  For the adults, I set up a refreshment table of muffins, donuts, fruit platter, juice, coffee and water.

pancake party

Look at all those yummy pancakes!

Here is a pic of the refreshment table minus the coffee:

feed the adults at your party

Refreshment Table

From about 9:35-10:05 I gave them free time with stations.  We had quite a few stations such as:

My husband making balloons:

balloon artist

My husband making a flower.

He made Ella a tiger.

Bounce house:

bounce house at birthday party

Bounce house fun!

Swing set fun:

Fun on the slide!

costco swing set

Loving the swings!

Coloring masks {I bought these from Michael’s 6 for $2}.

coloring masks

Coloring masks at the party!

perfect 3rd birthday

Ella swinging with her mask on!

(and finally) Making cereal necklaces {just buy fruit loops and apple jacks and some string, wahlaaaa}:

cereal necklace

Making cereal necklaces!

Those things really kept them busy for the 30 minutes they had to play!

10:05: We did a pillowcase race.  It was a little muddy out, so I used the extra pillowcases I had and let them race in those so they wouldn’t get theirs dirty!  This was so incredibly cute.  Pillowcases are the perfect sac for 3-5 year olds!

pillowcase party race

Pillowcase race!

10:20: Picture in front of the princesses!

princess party

Party guests and me! I wanted Anna in the pic, so I had to be too!

Picture in front of princesses

Our family!

10:30-10:45: Pinata!  The kids were SO well behaved and all waited their turn.  I let Ella go first and then the rest lined up shortest to tallest (kind of went along with their ages).  They had so much fun!


Ella swinging at her pinata.

10:45: Cookie cake and cupcakes!  I bought a cookie cake from Sam’s Club, so cheap and SO delicious and I also made red velvet cupcakes.  I did both because we had about 35 people there and I wanted to make sure there was enough.

Princess Cookie Cake - Sam's Club $15

red velvet princess cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

This lasted until 11 and then everyone went home!  It was an incredible party and I spent WAY less than if we went somewhere to have it done.  A special thanks goes out to all of my “helpers”.  It wouldn’t have gone as smoothly, yes note to you, get lots of help!  Be creative!

Couple of related posts!

Awesome 3rd Birthday cake
1st Birthday Party Ideas
Cupcake Cake Idea
Lion Birthday Party
Super Hero Birthday Party 



Painting Shutters Can Totally Change the Look of Your House

We bought a short sale.  Enough said right?!  I mean some people luck out and find a short sale that is in great condition.  We weren’t all that lucky.  We had an HOA violation sheet with about 25 no no’s on it.  One of the items was our shutters.  We have blue siding and we had to work with that (who wants to spend all the extra dough on siding).  The shutters before were a heinous burgundy color.

2012 House Listing -- I didn't take this.

I decided to change the color to black.  Here’s the after.

The after.... shutters look much better

Much better, huh?1?!  I love simplicity, that’s why I chose black.  I had no idea where to start, so I went to Home Depot and the guy there was really helpful with what kind of paint to use.

behr exterior paint

Behr Paint that we used!

It was an exterior semi-gloss enamel, paint and primer in one. {So what if husband threw this paint can away, and I went dumpster diving to get it}.  It cost about $40.  Not bad for an exterior transformation.  So, we got 18 shutters and a front door painted for $40.

All you do is take the shutters down (some people say to leave them up and spray paint them while they are up, I beg to differ).  Here’s husband taking them down, they aren’t that hard to remove.

handy husband.

Husband taking down the shutters. Who said IT people can't be handy?!

Paint away!!!!!

I actually painted over the pegs that hold the shutters in, but you can buy them for pretty cheap too.  Then you just paint, paint and paint.  We wiped ours down really well before painting over an dust layer.  I’m SO happy we did this.  It did take a good while, but it was totally worth it!!!  Oh yeah, I also got a few cans of spray paint  and painted the backs since we have the old school shutters.  I love it now!

My Mother’s Day Gifts – – Reviewed!

I’m not writing this post to put out there my gifts, in fact I personally hate it when people do that.   I’m reviewing my gifts for you because I think they are two things that are great for moms or women in general.

I go to the gym, so what if it’s partly to get a break from the girls/life.  I have been eyeing  heart rate monitors for some time.  I wanted one.  I was talking to husband about it for months.  I sent him pics of posters at the gym that had different models on it.  I thought they looked cool on people and the instructors actually interacted with the women that wore them.  I was talking to one girl at the gym and she said hers was $200 something.  Ha, I knew I wouldn’t get one that nice for sure.  So…. I told my husband that I didn’t care about the GPS, I just wanted a good reviewed watch that could tell me my heart rate along with the calories that I burned during the workout!  This is the one I got:

heart rate monitor

Polar RS100 Heart Rate Monitor

It sells for $81.73 on Amazon (way better than the $200 something price).  It has 4/5 stars with 125 reviews.  My husband is big on reviews and usually buys something less expensive with better reviews.  I’m completely happy with it.  I for sure thought I would feel the band around my chest, but I don’t at all when it is placed under the elastic of my sports bra.  I did notice that it calculated A LOT LESS calories than the machines actually calculate for me.  Boooooo.  It was surprisingly about half the amount.  Dagger.  At least now, I know the exact amount and can plug it into my daily calculations.

So, I’d say if you’re in the market for a heart rate monitor and don’t care much about the GPS (I could care less about that because I hate hate hate running) or MP3 player, this is a great one.  I really think it’s worth the money and it helps you motivate yourself during workouts.

On to gift Number 2.

Maybe I’m the only one that notices women at the sink at the gym.  I secretly watch them putting on make-up (possibly because I’m not that good at it) or what kind of round brush they use.  Yes, call me a weirdo.  A few months back I noticed this lady scrubbing her face this this brush-like thing.  It was almost like my electric toothbrush, but for her face.  Of course, I wanted one and then began to notice them all over commercials.  I was telling my husband about it, with no hints, just that I thought they were cool.  I was actually talking about it at a wedding I was in not too long ago and one of the girls was talking about the brand she had.  I definitely didn’t remember, but I think it was expensive.  So, from the girls he got me this one:

Oil of Olay ProX

It is $21.97 on Amazon and I LOVE it!  My face feels so smooth every night.  I would definitely recommend this to everyone.  This one had 4/5 stars with 620 reviews.  There were several people saying that they had a more expensive one before and this one did just as great of a job.  It comes with a little tube of wash to get you started.  If you have the $22, seriously order it right now.  You won’t be disappointed.

I guess my gifts weren’t the sappy or some piece of jewelry (that I would probably NEVER wear), but they are something that I use almost every single day.

Thanks Brian for making me a Mama.  Love you!

Random and Funny Mommy Products!

So I am sitting here waiting for a couple students to show up for their tutoring session… wasting time on the internet as usual!  I came across some really funny products you can actually buy!

1.  Mom Spit in a bottle!  This is a no wipe cleaning spray to take with you on the go to clean off those leftover chocolate smears (and anything else) on  your little ones face or hands!  The best part is that it comes in Fig and Green Tea scents… a much better smell than your actual spit clean!  Who wouldn’t want that!  Haha!  This would make a fun baby shower gift for a good friend!  Buy it here.

2.  So I heard once that some people actually save all their kids baby teeth!  Not kidding!  I though for sure I was being teased when someone first tried to convince me of this… but no, it is actually true!  Tonight I came across these baby tooth cases to prove it!  Enough slots to keep each tooth!  Hahahahaha… sorry for laughing for all those people who actually do save baby teeth.  Eeeewwww!  Haha!  Check them out here.

3.  Wiener dog lamps!  So funny!  If you have one of these dogs, you have got to get this lamp!  You can find them in a bunch of different colors and it would make the perfect soft glow night light for your child!  Find them here.

This one might actually only be funny to me… or anyone else who has or loves Dachshunds (also knows as wiener dogs!).  I actually have a miniature Dachsund that I bought as a puppy without realizing I was buying a wiener dog!  You can imagine how bad my husband made fun of me when he realized I didn’t know!

She was just so tiny and so cute staring at me with those big eyes of hers and I just couldn’t leave her.  I actually only went in to the store to buy turtle food for a pet turtle my  little brother gave to my boys and walked out with this adorable 3lb dog that could sit in my hand.  Oh she was really so cute and didn’t look like a wiener dog at all… they just aren’t that long when they are puppies.  Anyway, I love her to pieces despite the fact that my father-in-law calls her rat dog and warns me that the eagles might eat her.

Anyway, for those who don’t have a dachshund or know of anyone who does, you should know that there is a huge dachshund community.  They have Dachshund fairs where everyone brings their wiener dog and dresses it up for the costume contest and they have wiener dog races and games.  It is seriously so fun!  I have never seen such an obsession from other dog breeds, but Dachshund owners… they love their wiener dogs!

Seriously, try to find this lamp in any other dog breed!  Only wiener dog owners are obsessed enough with their dog to buy this!  I love it!!!! Seriously, my boys would love this too and it if wasn’t $79 I would totally buy it for them!!!  I’ll just admit now… I loved the wiener dog fair!!!!

My adorable little wiener dog snuggling up with my baby! How could you not love her! She's no rat!!!!


Florida Here We Come!!!

It is official!  We are moving to Florida!  Everyone keeps asking me why… well why not!  Why not go live by the beach for a bit and give it a try.  We are not tied down here and have jobs that let us work anywhere… so why not!

Just as we made it official we received this little present in the mail from my sister…

Funny right!!!!?!?!  Who knew you could mail a coconut!  Just so you know the background story of why my sister sent us this coconut, you should know that my hubby lived in the Philippines for two years before we were married…  that adorable man wrote me a letter every single week for two years! He never missed!  We were engaged 3 weeks after he came home and married 3 months after that.

While living in the Philippines he drank from these young coconuts all the time.  He has been craving them since we got married, almost 10 years ago now.  Whenever we go to Florida he is always eyeing them, but is too big to climb up a tree to get them!

He tries throwing rocks at them, using a sticks to poke at them, pretty much whatever he can think of.  Now that we have a six year old who is half monkey – half boy he has encouraged him to climb up the palm trees to pick the young coconuts for him.  Don’t believe me… see pics below!

Can you believe this monkey! This was in Florida in March for our spring break visit.


Here he is.. making his Daddy proud!

So yes, now we are moving to Florida in one month where we can have all the young coconuts we want!

Drink it up!

Luckily he shares with the boys!


Thanks for the fresh coconut Bakers!

Although, here is my motivation for moving!  Starting off my day with a morning run on the beach is absolute bliss!!!!!  Florida here we come!!!!!!

Fabulous way to start your day!

A Fun Way To Organize All Of Your Girlie Hair Clips!

hair clip organizer

Isn't this so cute for hair clips?!?!

I didn’t think of this myself.  A couple of years ago, we went to a homearama in Norfolk near my in-laws house and I saw this in a little girl’s bathroom.  If you’ve never been/heard of a homearama, you need to check out ASAP if there is one in your area anytime soon.  Basically, it’s a set up of 20 or so model homes that are for sale, but they are decorated amazing and can give you tons of fun ideas!!

I went to the Navy Exchange and found this memo board (~$15) and wahlaa.  These aren’t bows that I made in case you’re wondering, I got most of these from Target, Wal-Mart or Clarie’s.  It is a great way to organize all of the hair clips and everyone that sees it loves the idea.  It’s perfect in their bathroom.

For a couple of bow tutorials, check out my daisy hair bow and my korker bow!