Enchanted Mommy

Book Review Time: Matched by Ally Condie

I am an avid reader!  I love love love to read.  In fact, I don’t consider any vacation a very good one unless I have been able to devour 4 to 5 books within the week.  So, basically you could say that I read a lot!  I always have a book I am reading and always have a list of books on my “to read” list, and I AM ALWAYS LOOKING FOR GOOD BOOKS TO READ.

I figured if I come across a book I have really enjoyed I should share it with you and I hope you do the same!

I have had my eye on this book since I first saw it as a #1 New York Times Best Seller.  During a typical raid of my friend’s book shelf, I discovered that she had it!  I took it home and had it  and its sequel read within 4 days.  I loved it!  The third book is due out this November, but is already available for pre-order.

Matched, by Ally Condie is centered around a 17 year old girl living in a the future run by the “Society.”  The Society is basically the government that has complete control of every life decision, from what is eaten each day, your career, your spouse, where you live, even how you spend your free time.

The book starts out with Cassia, our 17 year old heroine, getting ready to find out who the Society has picked to be her Match for the rest of her life.  As Cassia goes about trying to be the perfect citizen, she finds out that her heart may disagree with some of the Societies choices for her and has to make a decision about what she should do about it.

This book has a very Handmaid’s Tale feel to it (another one of my very favorite books).  Basically a government taking to much power and the people learning to live with it or fight against it.

It is incredibly interesting and will have you reaching for the sequal.  I am only to sad to have to wait until November for the 3rd book.

Magna-Tiles Review: Best Toy Ever

Alright, listen up…  Everyone with kids should own Magna-Tiles!  They are great!

I like to rotate my toys every few months so that when my kids start getting bored with some I rotate in another batch they haven’t seen in a while and they get all excited to be reunited.  Magna-tiles are the only ones I don’t rotate out… and that is because they are the only toys the kids play with every single day.  They never miss a day playing with them.  They never get bored with them and they are finding new ways to play with them as they get older.

Magna-tiles are basically flat magnetized building blocks.  They come in a 100 piece set or a 32 piece set.  You can get them in solid colors or a colored translucent set.  There are five different geometrically sized shapes in the set and it is suggested for ages 3 and up.

I first got magna-tiles for my little guy’s 4th birthday almost 3 years ago.  He loved them and built the most interesting things!  His 18 month old brother also loved them.  Neighbors, friends, cousins, boys or girls come over and they always want to play with them.  Even my 10 year old nephew will play with them when he comes over.

I babysit 2 little boys full time and have 3 boys of my own.  The magna-tiles are incredibly durable! The boys often throw them around and once even went through a phase where they built towers and then jumped off the couch to land on them!  They have withstood and are still in great shape 3 years later.

Here are few of the creative things my kids have done with the Magna-tiles:

Built by a four year old!

They called this “TheTemple”

So proud of his castle!

My six year old built this before school

The boys like to make castles, towers, temples,  you name it! They like to build them up and wreck them.  They love to build super hero forts and keep their action figures in them.  My two year old builds garages to store his favorite cars.

My 18month old building

A five and six year old playing

Here is my list of pros:
Creativity, Creativity, Creativity!!!
Loved by all ages
Gives familiarity with shapes
Increases fine motor skills
Develops cognitive thinking by teaching spacial relationships, math, logic, and problem solving

And now for the Cons:
A bit expensive ($120ish for a pack of 100 or $50ish for a set of 32)
Wrecked magnet towers are often scattered across the floor!

I started by buying the 32 piece set of magna-tiles and as soon as they arrived I realized they just wouldn’t do and ordered the 100 piece set months later.  Save yourself the time and just start with the 100 piece set.  It is pricey, but I am telling you, you wont be sorry.  The cheapest place I have found to buy them is here (plus they have free shipping).  They will be back in stock this spring so keep a look out.

Had to add this one in here… This little guy is 2 1/2 years old and made this all by himself!

Find Fun Things To Do In The Winter

If you think winter is hard on you, imagine being an active kid.  I’m always looking for things to do with my over-the-top energetic 2 year old.  It’s almost impossible to take her outside in the winter while also having a 10 month old.  So, we try to find things to do inside.  Last weekend we took the girls to a chocolate festival at a church.  My girls had a lot of fun!  I feel like churches are always advertising fun things they do to reach out to the community.  This event was raising money for a missions trip and it cost only $5 for each child.  This included balloon animals, 2 bounce houses, lots of games and candy.  They also tried raising money by selling baked goods and served lunch, but you could just get away with the $5 per child.  So cheap and such a great outing.

bounce house

Having fun in the bounce house!

Balloon with baby

They even had balloons!

Games at a winter activity

Even the parents helped!

2 year old at church function

Having fun playing a game.

My advice is to get out and see what the community has to offer.  Most of the time it’s very affordable and your kids will be worn out for that AWESOME afternoon nap.

Bad Days Are Inevitable

I get a kick out of people’s Facebook posts.  Some are always stating how perfect their kids and life are.  Ain’t that some bull.  I actually pity them for feeling like they need to cover up the hard days of motherhood.  It’s not always easy…. remember that.  Being a stay at home mom is especially hard sometimes because you don’t get a break.

Some days consist of your kids throwing tantrums, not listening, crying for no reason, skipping naps, fighting with siblings, spilling drinks or just wanting to be held all day.  Trust me, the list goes on and on….. and on.

I recently read a post that I could actually relate to and it was real:

there are magical days when the baby wakes up in a good mood, everyone is smiling, games are played, crafts are made, things get done around the house, and there are even a few moments of “me time” to do whatever I want…

today is not one of those days.

I loved the punch line.  It’s so true.

Here’s my advice: Once the kids are in bed and you’ve gained your sanity back, go check on them.  That’s what I do.  Trust me, your difficult day is suddenly refreshed.  I did this the other day and look what I found:

10 month old sleeping

My 10 month old sleeping.

two year old sleeping

My energetic two year old sleeping.

Heck, you will probably look back when they’re grown and wish you had those bad days all over again.




My Valentine Surprise

I have the best six year old ever!  He woke me up today at 630am… yes you read that right.  6:30am!!!!  He snuck into my room when it was still dark out.  I heard him whispering over to me, “Mom, I made you a Valentine.  It has a note on it, but you can’t see it in the dark.”  He slipped a cut out heart he had made from construction paper into my hand.  In my drowsy state I saw him sneak over to his Daddy and do the same thing.  He also put a hand cut out flower he made on top of his four year old brother (who happened to have snuck into our bed unnoticed last night).

Seriously…. how cute is this little note!  I am in shock that he thought to do this all on his own and woke up early while the rest of us slept to make us each a Valentine.  In all honestly I didn’t think he though of much besides skateboarding, climbing trees, and learning stunts on his bike.  He is a true boy through and through so this gesture of his really made my day.

Translation: “Mom you are the best I love you I tinck you are so cool. From Casey”

There are definitely days when I wonder where these little monsters of mine came from, but on days like today I think how really incredibly awesome my kids are.  What a cool kid!

On another note, a friend gave me this tray of marshmallow fudge this morning.  So yummy!  Love sweet friends like this… I need to do more things like this for people because it really has made my day!

Thanks for the yummy treats Sherri!

Battling Hip Dysplasia

I gave birth to the most perfect and beautiful baby ever.  She came out looking just like my husband and was everything I had always imagined.  We named her Ella Bree!  She was ours, all ours.

perfect newborn baby with hip dysplasia

Look at how beautiful she is!

Before a newborn is discharged from the hospital, their pediatrician needs to give the okay for them to leave.  All was going well until the doctor put her legs together, pushed her knees up and the spread them apart.  Her hips were completely displaced.  There wasn’t even a real click, they just easily came out of socket and her legs practically fell to each side.  Of course we had never heard of hip dysplasia, so we asked a lot of questions.  It is most common in first born girls because of the conflicting hormones of baby and mom (don’t ask because I’m not exactly sure why).  They said she would have to wear a harness that goes on the outside of her diaper for probably 2 weeks.  HEARTBREAKING.  My perfect babe had to wear a Pavlik harness just four days after she was born.  I had so many thoughts going through my head– “people are going to think there is something seriously wrong with my baby”, “I’m going to have to explain this to everyone”, “why me and us”.  Here is what her Pavlik harness looked like:

pavlik harness

She was placed in the Pavlik Harness for 6 weeks.

She was so tiny, only 6 lbs when she got the harness!  Oh man, the day she got the brace, my hormones were raging.  I cried over anything and everything and I was so sore from having a csection.  This just added so much more fuel to the fire.  Life has to go on and you live with each challenge.  Well two weeks with her in the brace, turned into a long six.  Seemed like the longest six weeks of my life, but they were over!  She was checked out and ready to live the nonbrace life!

She went for her three and six month check-up at her pediatrician, no hip clicking.  Thank God!  Then, we went for her nine month well visit.  The doctor felt a click in her hip.  Brian and I were so devastated.  I think I cried for four straight hours.  How could this be happening again?  She was already mobile and pulling up– she would have been walking in no time.  I called her pediatric orthopedist (Dr. McHale located in Annandale, VA) and was able to get an appointment the next day.  Dr. McHale said Ella could have the surgery where she had to wear a body cast for six weeks, but she felt like she needed to go back into harness to see if that would help and then move into another brace called the hip abduction brace. What?!  The harness that covers her whole body.  How would she crawl?  Well, she learned and adapted fast:

crawling in Pavlik harness

She adapted to this so fast!

This was just a couple of days after she was put back into the brace.  Meanwhile, the doctor ordered Ella to have an MRI.  If you know much about MRIs, you have to be completely still = baby needs to be put under.  So, my poor sweet 11 month old at the time, had to have anesthesia to get an MRI.  Thankfully, the MRI came out to show that she did have cartilage there, it would just take a while to turn into bone.  This means she needs to wear the hip abduction brace (which Dr. McHale found from Germany) for a while.  Here is what the hip abduction brace looks like:

hip abduction brace

Hip abduction brace.

Of course Ella’s issue is so small compared to so many other children, but I still had meltdowns every so often seeing that my baby wasn’t “normal”.  She went to the doctor every month to six weeks and got x-rays.  We got the same response every time “she’s winning and I really don’t think she will need the surgery” and “I wish I had a magic ball to tell you how long she would need the brace”.  Thankfully, Ella did not need the surgery AND she learned to walk in the brace.  She walked at one year and one day.  Check out the video.  It will seriously melt your heart.

Pretty sweet huh?

She started wearing the brace at night only when she turned two.  Ella still goes back to the doctor every 3 months and still has to wear the brace at night.  She said Ella will have to wear it at night until she’s three.  My husband said we are taking everyone cake in the orthopedist office when she has her last hoorah at age three.  They have all been so sweet.  They know Ella every time we go in there.  They even tell other patients all about her and how she’s been there since birth.  Even the doctor, who is SO busy (seriously the busiest doctor’s office I’ve ever seen) knows her and said she wanted to publish an article about her case.  I could seriously rant and rave forever on Dr. McHale’s office.  They have all been so awesome.

Lastly, here’s my girl now in her brace:

hip abduction brace

Age 2 1/2 in her brace.

This girl doesn’t skip a beat.  She is one of the most energetic and outgoing kids I know.  Kids do adapt to everything.  I’ve learned to seriously count my blessings.  Now, she even asks for her brace at night.  She’s used to sleeping in it.  I do thank God everyday that she was able to be fixed without surgery and long term side effects.

Please ask if you have any questions.  I love talking with other people about it!

How to Make a Korker Hair Bow!

Korker Hair Bows

Aren't these just so adorable?! They are so simple to make!

This is an easy tutorial on how to make korker bows for your little lady!  They are so easy to make, so now you never have to buy another!

First, here is what you need:

korker bow

Ribbon (not satin and 3/8 inch works best), alligator clip, wooden dowel, dental floss, needle

Ribbon (not satin and 3/8 inch works best)
Alligator Clip
Wooden Dowel (I bought mine at Home Depot, so easy to find and I took a handsaw to make it shorter)
Dental Floss
Hot Glue Gun (not pictured)
Several Clothes Pins (not pictured)


First, preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Then, cover your alligator clip by glueing ribbon around entire clip (these are sold at any craft store or I bought mine at hair-hardware dot com):

alligator clip

Make sure you wrap entire alligator clip with ribbon. It will help stay secure.

Next wrap your ribbon around wooden dowel and put a clothes pin on each end:

ribbon on wooden dowel

This is what it looks like before putting it in the oven!

Place wooden dowels (as many as you want) on a baking sheet and put in oven for 25 minutes.

When it comes out, it should look like this:

curled piece of ribbon

After the ribbon is curled it should look like this!

Next cut your ribbon to desired length that you want for the total width of your bow.  The younger the child, the smaller the width should be (unless you want the bow to consume your child’s head).  For my baby, I would do about three inches and maybe add an inch or two for anyone older than a year.

curled ribbon

Make sure they are all the same length!

Next is the easy easy easy sewing part.  All you do is thread the dental floss through the needle and stick through the middle of each piece of ribbon.  Then, come back through each piece of ribbon and then tie the bottom end and top end of the dental floss together.  You don’t want the ribbon all facing the same way because it will look too perfect.  Lastly glue the bottom of your bow to your alligator clip and WAHHHLAAA!  Super easy bow!

korker hair

So adorable in little girls hair!

Another optional thing to do is to take a lighter of some sort and burn each edge of the ribbon.  That helps keep it from fraying at the end.  Make sure you don’t put the fire too close because it will burn it and make a brown mark.

Also, you can do so much with the korker ribbon and make several different styles of bows.  Play with it!  I would love to see some of your newly made bows!!

Remember my Daisy Hair Bow Tutorial???  If not, check it out and make that adorable bow too!



Spider Scare Rehabilitation!

So I have a problem… I have a hard time saying no.  I just want to be helpful.  People know this about me and ask me to help with the strangest things.  It is probably because they could not find anyone else to ask that would say yes.  Haha.

So anyway, I was recently asked to babysit a pet tarantula for a month.  Yes, weird request.  I was assured it was really easy.  Apparently they only eat once a week.  All I would need to do is keep the water bowl full with bottled water (something about the tap water containing something harmful to spiders) and toss in a worm once a week.  There was even a grate at the top of the cage so I can just poor the water right through it and not have to open the cage.

Doesn’t seem so bad does it!  And hey, I have three boys so having a tarantula around would make me immensely cool in the little boy world.  So I say yes.  Wow, I am so cool… I have a pet tarantula staying at my house!  Everyone wants to see it and each time I let a neighbor kid or a cousin see it, I am a little more cool in their eyes!  Now I am anxious to show off this freaky looking spider to all my child guests.

Showing off the spider!

One day during this spider babysitting month I have a little girl visitor.  She has just had her second birthday.  She comes to the front door and the first thing I do is ask her if she wants to see my big spider.  She agrees and gets all excited.  My 3 boys and I all run to the cage to show off our prize.  I grab the cage by the handle on the top of the cage to lower it down to the little girls level and pop… the bottom of the cage drops off and I am left standing there holding just the lid.

A mass panic breaks out as this seriously freaky spider starts running all through the kitchen… this normally lethargic looking tarantula is pretty dang fast!  The little girl is now screaming and crying historically as all the grown ups run around trying to catch this spider.  It was an insane few minutes.  If only I could really put into words the screaming panic you feel when this big freaky looking spider is racing around your feet while babies scream in the background!!!  We did catch him, but I am afraid this little girl will never recover!  I was really hoping I didn’t scar her for life!

I kept imagining this little girl waking up in the middle of the night screaming about spiders because I am an idiot and dropped the cage!  Poor girl!  So I took it upon myself to rehabilitate her new fear of spiders I had imposed on her.  We talked about how cool the spider was and how it was safe in its cage now.  After a while I asked if she wanted to see it again.  She would only look at it if I was holding her in my arms (can you blame her!).  We did this many times through the day.  We talked about where spiders live and what it eats.  Finally she was ready to take a real look up close!  By the end of the day this little girl was blowing kisses to my freaky tarantula!  Mission accomplished…   Thank goodness!  Three cheers for not permanently scaring an adorable little two year old!

Mission accomplished! She loves him again!

What Everyone Should Know: Heimlich Maneuver on Children

It’s only taken me two scares in the past week for me to buckle down and see exactly what I should do if a child is choking.  My daughter is so tiny, we often have to force her to eat.  This week we told her she couldn’t put her nightgown on until she finished her dinner (yes, she’s totally obsessed with her princess nightgowns), so she stuck a huge portion of a cheese stick into her mouth and started gagging and threw up.  Even for that less than a second when I thought she was choking, I was freaking out.  I YouTubed choking right away and I came across this video:

This sums up the video a little of what you should do:

  • If child is sitting, make them stand
  • Explain to child that you are going to use the Heimlich Maneuver
  • Make a fist and put above pelvic line
  • Do an upward thrust rapidly and forcefully trying to release what is stuck and to get air
  • If this doesn’t work, lay victim over hand
  • Deliver back blows with the other hand
  • If this doesn’t work and child becomes unconscious, lower victim to ground and straddle victim and place hands on belly and drive up and place hands on belly upward forcefully towards head

Even if you aren’t a parent, you should watch this. Recently, we had friends
watch our kids that don’t have children yet, therefore it would have been
useful for them too!

This Stroller = Awesome

This is it, check out the video below.  You DON’T want to miss this!

Yes, this is it. I want it NOW!!!

Okay, I can’t believe this.  Are we living in the future?!?!?!  If I didn’t already have three and I had close to a thousand dollars to spend on a stroller, I would buy this, like NOW.  This is an awesome single stroller.  Check out this video!

In case you want the basic info:

4 Moms Origami Stroller
It retails around $850

Info at the bottom of the video:
Strollers are all the same and haven’t changed for decades. That’s why 4moms developed the Origami power-folding stroller. At the touch of a button, it folds itself. It’s also a cell phone-charging, mileage-counting, LCD-sporting stroller, with generators in the rear wheels that charge it as you walk. Plus, the Origami has daytime running lights, pathway lights for low-light conditions, and sensors that detect when a child’s in the seat (so it’ll never fold by accident).
From power folding to cell phone charging, the Origami is what strollers should be.