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 “G”

The letter “g” is associated with so many fun activities and objects. One in particular that comes to mind is the guitar. 

Music is a fantastic way for children of all ages, from preschool and beyond, to express themselves. Music allows children to dance, sing, and exert energy in an uplifting way. It also can help them learn new things, like memorization and motor skills. 

One of the most popular musical instruments is the guitar. The guitar is a string instrument and comes in two forms: acoustic and electric. Lots of music genres use the guitar, some of these include country, punk rock, pop, metal, jazz, and more.

This letter “g” activity is a fun musical activity that allows preschoolers to be creative and make them feel like a real-life rockstar. While most of us don’t own a guitar, you might be surprised at how easy it is to make one at home with just a few items. This activity requires scissors, so please make sure a parent or guardian is available to help cut.

To make your very own shoebox guitar, you will need the following items: 

  • 1 Shoe Box
  • Cardboard
  • Rubberbands 
  • 1 Pencil 
  • 1 Pen
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Stickers (optional) 

Watch this YouTube tutorial below to create your own!

If you don’t have any of the above items readily available at home, there are a few other fun activities you can do instead that involve the instrument. You can listen and sing along to popular songs that use a guitar or you can download, print, and color in the guitar illustration below.

Letter G Activity for Preschool Children

Let us know in the comments below how your shoebox guitar turned out and what songs you played with it!

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

Realistic DIY Kid Valentine’s

I try to be creative with my kids’ Valentine cards, but in all honesty, I’m not that creative.  I like to think I am, so I go on Pinterest and look for Valentine’s that I could see myself doing with a 3 and 5 year old.  My 3 year old has 15 in her class and my 5 year old has 23.  Eek!  In this case, patience is a virtue.  So, I’ve searched and found what I think is the 5 easiest Valentine’s for kids.

1.  I’m glad we’re in the same school.  This one is cute and can easily be written!  I found this one here.valentinefish

2.  You are Beary Special.  I actually did this one with Ella last year, so it can be done.  Check this one out here.
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3.  I mean this one might take a while, but it looks cool and doable.  Who doesn’t love twinkies anyway?!  Found here.

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4.  This one is a cute pencil Valentine.
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5.  This lolly pop Valentine idea seems cool.  My kids’ wouldn’t be near this perfect, but I like the concept!
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I think these are my top 5 because they are cute and simple.  Happy Valentine’s Day and Superbowl Sunday.  Katy Perry = awesome!

 

 

 

Going With Joybird Furniture

I’ll be honest. I’ve been in the need of a new couch for a long time and I think I’ve finally found the one that’s perfect for me. I’ve spent a lot of time in actual retail locations from major furniture brands and different department stores but hadn’t found anything that was perfect for me. That was until I discovered the website joybird.com. They have modern furniture designs that allow for a lot of customization. Pick your color, fabric, and style and they’ll build the furniture and ship it to your home.

I’ve spent a bit too much time on their site looking through the combinations I could come up with. Did I want to go with a sky blue or a deep green. What would look best with the yellow paint I’ve been considering? What style of couch would hold up with my taller and heavier family members? But I think I have it picked. A light blue couch that looks sturdy.

I have researched joybird up and down and really like what I’ve seen on review sites. For example, the following review on Yelp:

Read Kendall M.'s review of Joybird Furniture on Yelp

People love Joybird furniture so much that they regularly post their photos on yelp to go along with there review. Yes, there are a few people that had some issue but the number of updated reviews that include comments on how Joybird fixed any problem a customer had was well beyond anything that comes from the other furniture websites I have been looking at.

I made the plunge and clicked the “buy” button a bit earlier tonight. I’ll be sure to share a post with my new furniture once it arrives and after I get to actually painting the room. Who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind and not use yellow. Time will tell.

Mommy Against Drunk Driving

Every mommy will work her hardest to protect her child. That’s a given. But what happens when the scenario is not in your hands?

We’ve all heard the dangers of drunk driving. They’re taught to our kids in school and we stress the lessons of not driving while under the influence automatically nowadays. But why do we still hear stories of terrible things happening in relation to driving drunk?

About one year ago, four boys in my town were involved in a deadly car accident because the driver of the car was under the influence of alcohol and drugs. They were all about to enter their freshman years of college. But unfortunately two of the boys did not make it to college. They didn’t even make it past the crash. They died on impact. Although these boys were also under the influence and were cognizant of their actions entering the car, the seamless action of their poor decision became the end of their lives. Worst of all, the driver of the car is one of the boys that survived and has to live with the guilt of killing his friends and serve time for their deaths.

And God forbid there had been another car on the road in proximity to their car. Think about all the innocent lives that could have been affected or lost due to this poor decision. Unfortunately I’m aware that things like this happen all the time, everywhere -not just to the four teenage boys in my town. There have been so many instances of drunk driving tragedies that the words’ meaning have become so diluted. We forget about the repercussions when it doesn’t involve us personally.

I reflect back on this and am saddened by the fact that everyone has seemed to move past this tragedy. The teens who were friends with the victims went to college, the community affected turned their focus to the next item on the block, summer ended and the devastation became a feeling of the past -we all moved on.

Yet this accident had the largest impact of all and will always loom around the families of these boys. The mothers who will never see their sons again. Drunk driving changed these lives forever. In a way, loved ones can’t really ever move past a day like this. I am troubled on behalf of these people. I know organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving are out there doing good things in the world but at some point you have to wonder when or if people will learn on their own. I’m concerned for my children and I’m concerned for the future. How high does the death toll have to rise before people learn?

This was a guest post from Erin at dallasdwilawyer.org

Pinkalicious 1st Birthday

I cannot believe it, my youngest princess turned the big 1.  We decided to do a Pinkalicious family party.  Here she is!

marinbdaypic

I always take 1st birthday pictures of my kids.  I quickly did this one two days before her birthday so I could display it at her party.  In case you’re wondering, I got the romper and headband here.  It fit her perfect and ran true to size (she’s 17 lbs and I ordered 6-12 months).

I’m so mad at myself for not taking pictures of the food, but it included:
– chicken salad  and egg salad croissants
– butterfly pb & j sandwiches for the kids
– lumpia
spinach dip
 buffalo cheese ball
– veggie tray
– fruit salad
sausage cheese dip

I also took pictures of the drinks kind of late so they didn’t look the prettiest at this point:

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The best was the pink punch!  I thought it tasted so delicious!  I scooped the sherbet into the punch with an ice cream scoop.  The pink chevron straws are from Target.

My favorite was her “1” cake because it looked so cute, but was SOOOOOOO easy to make!

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I used a strawberry cake mix and funfetti icing.  I dyed the icing pink with icing dye.  It was so easy!  I did have to put the icing in the fridge for like 30 minutes after I mixed it because it was a little too loose.  I used a wilton 1M tip and started in the center and worked my way around.    I filled in the holes with the same tip in between the cupcakes.  It took me probably 10 minutes to ice!  I also put these edible pearls on there for a little extra touch.

Her smash cake looked very similar!

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This probably took me 5 minutes to ice.  I used this cupcake cake mold.  First, I put icing in between the two layers of cake and then did a very thin layer of icing on the top with a butter knife so the roses would stick well.  I used the same icing tip as above and just did little roses all over and added the pearls.  Remember, the rose starts in the center!  I bought the ribbon at A.C. Moore.

I also made chocolate covered pretzels and sugar cookies.  My mother in-law also made a delicious cheesecake.

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I used my cookie cutters from my kit that I wrote about before.  I actually just bought pillsbury cold dough.  The letters looked rough until I iced them!  I thought they turned out pretty cute!

Here is the display of her “pink sweets” table.

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I’d say she enjoyed her cake!  I love how her handprint is on her face.

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Okay, so one more…..

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I also made cute pom poms for above her!

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I used 8 pieces of tissue paper for the center one, 7 for the dark pink ones and 6 for the small ones!

I’d say she had a pretty good 1st birthday!

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Be still my heart!

I hope you have as much fun planning your little ones’ birthdays as I do!

Exercise with a Cause

Spring is upon us, and for many of us that means getting back into the swing of a regular exercise schedule. One of the most recent trends in the fitness industry has been ‘Tough Mudders’ and ‘Spartan Races.’ The idea for these is pretty straightforward; take a standard running race and add a variety of obstacles to challenge participants to add a unique spin to a running race. Of course, standard running and cycling events aren’t hard to find either, and can be just as fun. Many of these races have a great cause, too. Using race registration revenue to make donations, these races can act as a platform for charitable organizations to collect funding, and are a great way for you to give back to the community.

Training Tip: To train for one of these things, you’re going to want to incorporate a lot of running. No matter how you spin it, you’ll be running a lot at these, and running is also a great way to brush up your fitness. A little calisthenic work will also go a long way: you don’t want to be underpowered in the obstacle course.

Choosing the race/event is the next priority. Be mindful to pick an event that is funding a cause that you would like to support. Most charities are clear with the destination of their donations, so check to see what is going on behind the scenes if you’re curious. The truth is, these charities have a lot more manpower to make sure the donations are going to the right places, and more so, are increasing visibility for the cause, so signing up for a reputable event is money well spent. This way, you’ll be able to knock out two things at once: you’ll get exercise with a goal in mind, and you’ll be giving back to the community at the same time. These races are a great solution for working parents struggling to find time or motivation.

If you want to go the extra mile, ask your employer what they do to support charitable causes. It’s not far fetched for companies, like this health insurance company, to have some charitable outreach. Asking your employer to start a similar program could be great for them and for your community.

No matter what type of race you participate in or how quickly you are able to reach the finish line, you’ll feel better afterwards. These races are beneficial for you and your community, so do some research and find the right race for you.  

Simple Tips to Save Money for Your Family

It has become especially stressful in recent years with the struggling economy to support a family. From the overwhelming cost of hundred of diapers to the money you need to save for their future college educations, there are so many things to consider. That is why my family focuses on saving money in as many ways as possible. Over time, we’ve really fine-tuned our savings approach and found several unique methods for cutting costs that I think could benefit any family. Below, you’ll find some of my favorite tips for saving.

Stay in the Know

It’s no hidden secret that you can clip or print coupons for your shopping trips. However, a lot of your favorite stores have deals that you’re missing out on. Many companies have started offering special deals through sms marketing. For instance, if you sign up to receive texts from Redbox you can save on entertainment for your family when they text you deals like “rent one dvd get one free” throughout the month. Signing up for text alerts can help you to avoid paying full price for things that are marked down on a regular basis.

Set Up a Babysitting Swap

Unfortunately, date nights can really add up and put a huge dent in your bank account. It’s still very important to maintain a healthy relationship with your significant other. I read all about how babysitting swaps worked for other families and we decided to try it out with some friends of ours. It’s been one of the best money-saving changes we’ve made over the years. You still get some alone time from the kids, but you don’t have to add $40 or more to your date night when you come home and pay the babysitter. Instead, you find other parents who are willing to watch your kids for the evening in exchange for you doing the same on one of their date nights. If you haven’t tried this yet, email your friends ASAP and set something up!

Master your Gardening Skills

Having a family can significantly increase the total of your grocery shopping bill each week. But, you can avoid having to purchase certain produce items if you simply learn to grow them in your own home. Starting a vegetable garden in your back yard has more benefits than just saving you money. The produce is extremely fresh and delicious and I’ve grown to find my time tending the garden to be relaxing and therapeutic.

Declutter Your Closets

There are many ways that going through your closet can help you to save money. First, you can list items that you no longer wear on sites like poshmark and make money from home. We’ve all tried those consignment shops, but often leave disappointed in the money that we receive in return for our clothes. Poshmark allows you to set your own price and bargain with those near you. When going through the kids’ closets, you may also run across great pieces for hand-me-downs that you forgot even existed. Take the time to sort through all of the closets in your house on a regular basis and I guarantee you’ll start saving some money.

Having a family can be expensive, but we all know it’s so worth the price in the end. We can all use new ways to save some money every now and then. Whether you sign up for text marketing from your favorite companies or you learn to grow your own tomatoes and cucumbers, following these tips will surely help you to increase the money in your savings accounts.

80’s Fireplace Redone – White Wash

We are still in the process of updating our home.  As mentioned before, it was a short sale that needed TONS of “help”.  It was at the top of our budget, so we slowly have to update.  This project only cost $43 and so many people have commented on how great it looks.  I got the idea here from my favorite home blog, The Yellow Cape Cod.

Here’s the fireplace before:

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I hated the black brick showing with the 80’s red.

Here’s the process:

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Step by step process:

1. Go to Sherwin Williams and get a gallon of white Cashmere paint.  You can only get it in a gallon, that’s the only way they sell it.  You will also need a paintbrush if you don’t have one.  Make sure you check online for a coupon, I found a 30% off paint one!

2.  Remove mantle and clean your fireplace out.

3.  Clean off your fireplace by vacuuming it well.

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3.  Mix half paint and half water.  You really only need like a pint so your container doesn’t need to be that big.

4.  Start Painting.  One person brushes and another comes behind with an old rag (we used one of my husband’s old white t-shirts) to smooth things over.

You can tell we had a lot going on at once.

You can tell we had a lot going on at once.

It was that easy!  I wanted it white washed so you could still see the brick through it.  You can always add less water or do an extra coat.  I’m SO happy with it.  I would love a new mantle, but that isn’t quite in the budget just yet.

Looks completely different!

Looks completely different!

The whole project took less than three hours.  WHY DIDN’T I DO THIS SOONER?!?!  I love it and I love it even more because we did it ourselves!  Thank you Yellow Cape Cod!