Enchanted Mommy

Saturday Night Idea in December!

You don’t have to do this on a Saturday night, but it was a great relaxing way to end our busy day (and it’s free).  I was a little bummed when we couldn’t find a sitter so we could go out for my friend’s birthday, but I didn’t let that get the total best of me. We ended up making a family night out by looking at all of the incredible Christmas lights.  It’s amazing how much time and effort people put into their lights and decorations.

Here are a few of the houses we drove by:

pretty Christmas lights

I love this picture. Look at the reflection of the moon!

I purposefully took a picture of this house because of the Grinch.  I always joke with my daughter saying my husband is the mean Grinch.

Christmas lights

Simple and nice!

This is a lot of work!

lighted christmas tree

Neat idea!

I thought the tree was really cool.  Creative!

Lighted Manger

The real meaning of Christmas!

I loved this!  Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle bustle of Christmas that we forget why we celebrate it.


We stopped by the grocery store on the way home and I picked up some ice cream and whipped cream.  We came home and my 2 year old watched Rudolph, my husband played with the baby while I made these:

Yummy milkshake

Perfect ending to a perfect evening!

Wow, what a fun night as a family!

Saving Money While Being a Stay at Home Mommy!

I’ve sort of eased my way into become a full time SAHM.  I used to be a full time PE teacher.  Once I had my oldest, Ella, I started working part time (every other day).  Then, when I had Anna, I became a full time SAHM.  I say full time because it is a full time job, just different.  I’m going to share with you ways that I have saved money and it’s almost as much money as I used to make (and I’m not kidding in the least bit).

1. Find fun free or almost free stuff to do with your kids.
Sometimes free stuff is the best.  We have a great library here that has two story times a week, lots of parks, a mall that has an indoor play area, and a website that has a ton of inexpensive things to do with your child that has a calendar of all the things that are going on in the area.  I also take my girls to the gym almost everyday.  It definitely isn’t free, but if I’m using it everyday, they have a lot of new toys to play with and they get to be around a lot of other kids (much cheaper than preschool at this age where they learn by play).  Also, plan some play dates at different houses!  It’s fun for the kids and moms!

2.  Limit eating out to almost never.
Now that I stay at home, I can usually cook or prepare all meals myself.  Eating out adds up SO fast.  Even if it’s fast food.  The other day I picked up McDonalds for my brother and his three kids and it was $20 just for them.  NO JOKE.  I can make an awesome home cooked meal for way less than that and have enough for leftovers the next day for lunch.  When I worked, I was tired when I got home, so we ate out so much more frequently.  Also, if we do eat out, it’s because I’ve gotten an amazing groupon, living social or restaurant dot com.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve eaten out without a coupon.  Wait, I take it back.  I will pick Ella up a 4 piece nuggets every once in a while for $1 (she’s never once had a kids meal except at chick fil a where I’ve had a coupon).  Remember, I also make my own baby food!

3.  Compare coupons with the sale items.
I always clip the coupons and even print a ton off the internet.  It does take time, but I have it.  This month for all four of us, I’m spending about $75 per week on groceries AND as mentioned above, we aren’t eating out. I usually buy my meat in bulk at the beginning of the month at Sam’s and then buy the rest at the store with what is on sale that week.

4.  Plan your grocery list out before you go to the store.
If I don’t plan out every meal before I head to the store, I randomly grab things that we don’t need and they go bad quickly.  Wasting food adds up so fast!  I even plan my meals around what is on sale at the store or for what I have coupons for.  Over the course of the year, I save so much on groceries than your average person.  Also, if I know I have an event coming up I buy nonperishable items far in advance if they are on sale (for example, I knew we were having a BBQ for Ella’s 2nd birthday and Teets had chips buy 2 get 3 free, I bought them 6 weeks in advance).

5.  As annoying as it is, subscribe to store email lists and “like” them on Facebook AND subscribe to money saving blogs.
I know, I know it’s so annoying, but I’ve gotten amazing deals at high priced stores for being on the email list. I always get an extra 20 or 30% off with free shipping.  I love it too because I can shop without the girls pulling things off the shelves and squeezing between racks with a huge double stroller.  It’s also helpful when you “like” them on Facebook because they also give out promo codes to fans.

Money saving blogs are awesome.  There are so many out there that do the work for you!  They will give you meals on a budget or will compare the grocery lists with coupons for the best deals.  Ha, on here you can even learn how to cut your husband or sons hair!

6.  Budget Budget Budget and check credit card statements often.
We have a budget for everything. We have a limit each month what we can spend on the credit card and you better believe I’m on top of every charge.  If I notice we are spending too much on let’s say “fun stuff”, I nip it right there.  We are done for the month and find other fun free things to do.

7.  Get rid of your huge car payments if it’s possible.
Our cars are completely paid off AND they are older.  Both of our cars are ’03s and uncool, but we are fortunate that they are paid off and still in great condition.  We do try to take good care of them with keeping up with the maintenance.  I know several of our couple friends that have two car payments (spending close to $1,000 per month on payments + the extra insurance for being a nice new vehicle).

8.   Don’t be afraid of Craigslist, Ebay or Consignment Shops/Sales.
I’ve talked so much about consignment sales, but really I have saved so much money with my girls clothes AND toys.  I also sell and buy things on Craigslist.  It’s so convenient and a lot of my items are in “like new” condition.

9.  Stock up on sale items.
For example, I bought dog food the other day when it was on sale AND if you spend $50 at this store, they gave you a $10 gift card.  So, I bought enough sale items (including dog food) that I will for sure (I didn’t buy it just because it was on sale) use and got a free $10.  I did this twice so now I have two free $10 gift cards when I just bought things that I would buy any way!

10.  Shop around for the best deals.
You might have to go to two grocery stores because one has veggies on sale where another has fruit.  Plan it into your day.  Or, you might call around to get the best deal on car or life insurance.  Trust me it’s SO worth it.


My pay was public so I don’t mind sharing.  We live in northern Virginia.  When I worked full time I made right at 50k and half that when I switched to part time.  Child care is also expensive, it’s around $500 a week for two kids (give or take $50).  So, you can immediately subtract that from my salary and all of the money I save. Surprisingly enough, we are saving as much money per month as we did when I was working.  You can do it!

A Weird Mommy Moment!

With three boys (6yrs, 3yrs, and 2yrs old) I am not often surprised.  Most of the shenanigans they pull just make me shrug my shoulders and think, “hhhmmm, business as usual.”

I found while talking to my next door neighbor (she has three adorable girls aged 7 and under) and some of my other friends with girls, that the shenanigans my kids are pulling aren’t anywhere near normal or ordinary to her.

Although it isn’t even 3:30pm yet, I thought I would share my three most interesting events of the day.

I am having company over this whole week so I decided to do walk through the house and make sure things were mostly put together.  I got to one of the bedrooms that my two year old and three year old share.  I started to straighten their blankets on their bunk beds and found a couple toys.  By the time I finished making both their beds, this is the toy stash I had found… all in their beds!

The complete stash of toys I found hidden in their beds!

Those little sneaks!  This is one of those times where I am unsure if I should be deeply disappointed in their sneakiness, or secretly proud as sneaking this amount of toys and keeping it all hidden took an enormous amount of planning.  Their bedroom is on the top floor of the house and the toy room is two floors down in the basement.  It must have taken them several trips each to carry all these upstairs in their little hands.

A little later my six year old wanted to color.  Great!  He can color with his brothers (they almost always want to do whatever he does) and I can keep cleaning.  Ten minutes go by and he brings in a fortune teller he has made from paper… remember those!  Yep, the kids are still doing them!  Anyway, he wants me to play and I am more than happy to see what interesting things he has written inside.  Here is what my future foretold!

In case you can't read the six year old writing, this tells me that I will poop my pants in the near future

So later on, the boys have two of their best friends over to play.  I am organizing a little in the office and over hear their conversation.  It went a little something like this,

“You better tell my mom.”
“Why do I have to tell her?”
“You broke it, you should have to tell her.”
“Why can’t you just tell her?”
“Because I didn’t break it, you did.”

At this point my anticipation got the better of me and I decided to see just what had been broken this time (again, with three boys this is really not surprising in the least).  I was very happy to find out that the broken item in question was just a catalog rather than the hanging light fixture (that was broken just a couple months ago from a flying tennis ball).

Anyway,  this is my life.  I hope it brings you a smile.  For me it is just the standard occupational hazard of life with three little monkeys… and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

It’s a Recipe Party!

Yes, you got it!  I’m hosting a recipe party at my house and it’s in less than a week.  I got the idea from a dear friend and neighbor of mine that moved to Israel.  You might be wondering what exactly it is and I’m here to tell you!  You just invite a bunch of your girl friends over, they each bring a dish, you make a dish and have some “fun” drinks and let the night begin.

Well, that’s not exactly all it entails, but it’s supposed to be super fun!  Each person emails the host their five favorite recipes before the party, brings one dish of their five sent recipes and shows up for a childless great night!  I made sure to let people know that it’s supposed to be stress free, if they show up in sweats, no one will judge.

I’m still waiting for all of my RSVP’s to see what I am making.  I sent out an evite and asked everyone when they responded to put in the comment section what they were bringing.  That way I can fill the gaps (meaning I make a dessert or main course if no one else is bringing it).

I’m really excited to see what the night brings.  I will take lots of pictures and post some of the delicious recipes!  Yay for girls night — husband and babes are leaving too.  It’s just me and my favorite girl friends.  Excitement is an understatement!

Now, don’t be jeally, go host one of your own!

Trunk or Treat Party!

We took the kids to a Trunk or Treat party at our church last night.  It was so much fun!

The car parked next to us had a life size skeleton with motion sensors.  If someone walked close to it, the skeleton would play music and dance.  To say my barely two year old was obsessed with it would be an understatement!  He spent most of the night running to it and pointing, “Dance bad guy! Dance!” and then laughing and dancing with it.  It was hysterical to watch and I am so sad that it was too dark out to get a good video of it.

My three little guys waiting for the party to start!

After the trunk or treating part we all went inside for some cupcakes (as if we didn’t already have enough sugar) and some fun and games.  The favorite game was Whack-A-Mole.  The line to play this game wrapped far around the table!  The wait was well worth it though!

You got the chance to WHACK some real moles (12 to 14 year old Deacons) with a water noodle!  The Deacons would poke their heads out of the holes and the kids would nail them!  I am not sure the kids will ever have so much fun again!  Even my two year old got in on that action!

My two year old ready to Whack some Deacons!

The youth also put on a haunted house as they do every year, but this year I actually thought it was pretty good.  They some how found a way to turn off the emergency fire lights this year so the room was completely dark before the strobe lights started flashing! My hubby was helping work the spook ally so I felt pretty good about letting my almost three year old (yes, I have a 2yr old, 3yr old, and a 6yr old… all boys) go through it with me.

He loved it!  Someone would jump out at us with a scary mask on and he would yell the fakest “AAAAHHHH” you have ever heard.  It made everyone in the spoke alley laugh.  Although, I was a bit embarrassed after we came out the exit when my three year exclaimed with glee, “I saw Daddy dead!”  Maybe I shouldn’t desensitize him so soon!

Here’s to a fun Halloween!!!