Enchanted Mommy

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:

fireplace2

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

Here’s the process:

dipticfireplace

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.

fireplace3

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!

 

 

 

 

How to Stick to Your Exercise Plan this Winter

Sometimes it can be difficult to keep up with your health during the winter months. The temperature starts dropping and all you really want to do is cozy up on the couch with a blanket instead of running outside in the freezing temperatures. Staying motivated this time of year is next to impossible. However, there are some ways to maintain your fitness routine this winter that are more fun (and warm!) than simply running around your neighborhood.

Home workout videos are a fantastic way to get your exercise in and keep off that extra weight. You can stay inside and away from the cold air. Plus, you can do the videos on your own time and you can alternate your videos to keep your workout interesting instead of getting bored doing the same old thing you always do. Some workout videos are as short as 15 minutes while others can be an hour, so you have the chance to vary your routine depending on how much free time you have that day. I highly recommend getting yourself a copy of Personal Training with Jackie or any of Jillian Michaels’ DVDs. You can also check out some of these free YouTube videos.

Another fun way to get in some exercise during the cold winter is to work out with your children. This way, you’re getting in some family bonding time while also working towards a better figure. You might find this silly, but you can actually lift your kids as weights! The kids will get a kick out of it, and you’ll get some killer muscles.

I know that we don’t really want to head outside in the cold, but sometimes it’s still good to get some fresh air! Ask around for any great trails near you and go for a hike. You’ll get in your cardio exercise and you’ll avoid getting cabin fever. I recently went for a hike myself and I was blown away by the breathtaking views. Even though we sometimes complain about the snow, it truly does make the landscape look beautiful!

(photo credit: Chris Pivik on Flickr)

Some community centers allow you to visit for a small donation or even for free. Check your local listings and see if there are any rec centers where you can take your kids and get in a little time on the treadmill, elliptical, or weights. You’ll be getting out of the house, but still staying out of the cold.


Don’t use the cold weather this winter as an excuse to avoid exercise. Take advantage of this time to mix up your routine and try new ways to get fit. Before you know it, spring will be here again and we will be able to run outside, but you might find that you’ve got a new favorite workout video that you’ll continue using into the warm seasons as well!

Article by: Chris Pivik.

Face Plates – You Gotta Get One

This is such a fun way to get your kids to eat!  My husband got these face plates for my older two girls for Christmas because they are picky, very picky!  He thought they might be open to eating more of a variety of foods with this.  Here are just a few cute things we’ve done with them since Christmas.  They really do love them!  They are about $12 on amazon.  The possibilities are endless!

faceplate1

20140111_114506

 

20140118_184001

 

faceplate3

 

IMG_20140102_173321

Employee Benefits & Working from Home

In today’s society, being a “stay at home mommy” does not have the same meaning that it did in the past. Some moms that stay at home are still earning an income, while completing the many tasks around raising children and taking care of a home. Many are self-employed. With the rise in companies such as Rodan + Fields, Avon, and Mary Kay women are given the option of working from home on a more flexible schedule.

With these companies, mothers can still spend time with their families and do all of the things they want to do while earning a little extra income for their household. The business model of companies like Stella & Dot have been on the rise. More and more people (not just moms) are choosing to work from home on their own terms. In fact, the bureau of labor reports that 15 million people were self employed in 2015. These companies are providing a more flexible work schedule.

There are other ways to jump on this type of work without working as a sales person. Blogging has become a very popular profession. It can be difficult to get started and not all bloggers make a very steady income, but I truly love the lifestyle I have created by becoming a mommy blogger. I get to do all the things I love (crafting, baking, and spending time with the kids) while providing ideas for other moms! What more could I ask for?

Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks of being a self-employed, work from home individual. For instance, I do not get a lot of the perks associated with a normal job. Benefits such as health insurance, PTO, and company matched retirement savings are not available to bloggers. I also miss out on the interpersonal communication in the office environment.

For this reason, I find it important to give myself the normal perks associated with working in an office. I take lunches with friends to get that interaction during the day. I still take time to myself, planning vacations and scheduling blog posts out in advance. But the most important thing that I do to replicate working in a more traditional career path, is to get health insurance coverage for myself and my family.

Companies such as Health Insurance Innovations are providing affordable insurance options for individuals who are not receiving their coverage through an employer. Plus, you don’t even have to leave your “office” because you can get coverage right from your home by signing up online. In fact, I love this idea so much that I’ve considered becoming one of the Health Insurance Innovations Investors

I would highly recommend looking into becoming a modern “stay at home mommy” and joining the self-employed revolution. It’s a fantastic lifestyle that allows you to spend time with your children, take care of yourself, and earn some extra income. Just remember to set yourself up for the normal work perks and you’ll be good to go.

Texting and Driving is a Problem

I absolutely hate it when my husband picks up his phone while driving.  Even if it’s something that he’s doing quickly to update the GPS in the phone to help us get to our desired destination.  I’d much rather do it myself than take the risk of the driver being distracted.   It’s just not worth the risk.

Let’s face it, texting while driving is a problem.  Too many people do it.  We’re all attached to our phones and whether you’re stopped at stoplight or moving down the highway looking down at our phone instead of paying attention the extremely heavy vehicle we’re controlling is dangerous.   I’ve read recently a number of reports about how texting while driving has the same impact on a drivers skills as does driving while under the influence.    What amazes me though is that driving under the influence has significantly greater punishments than the punishments for people that text while driving.  The map below highlights the fines related to driving under the influence and driving while texting.

The difference in most states is huge.  Except for the people in Alaska, who have clearly identified the serious problem of texting while driving.  In many states the financial penalty for drinking while driving is almost 10x higher than if they texted while driving.  Some one needs to review these laws and get that fixed.

If you’re one of many people that text and drive every day, now is the time to stop.  Your message can wait.  And if it can’t, then pull over to focus on your important message.

How To Keep A Popsicle From Leaking Everywhere

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA. Three kids is no joke.  A fun no joke.

I have a quick post of an idea my husband had because my 2 and 4 year old ALWAYS leak popsicles all over themselves and their clothes AND they become a sticky mess.  Here’s his genius idea:

popcyclewrapper

He took a cupcake wrapper and put it on the stick to help with the leaking everywhere!

Yeah, he’s kind of smart.

Cooking is Therapeutic

I love cooking, it’s therapeutic for me. When I worked in a fine dining restaurant I was always looking at what the chefs were doing and asking questions, trying to figure out what they did and what tools they were using. I love trying out fancy recipes. I have grand visions of being the next Tim Love, and opening my own line of restaurants…but then I remember how much I like nights, weekends, and holidays. Now, I may not be able to cook exactly like the pros, but I can get pretty darn close, and I have a few favorite tools that help me get there.

image (1)

A Microplane Zester/Grater – There is nothing like fresh citrus zest to add a little something extra to a meal. I also love this for grated nutmeg and ginger, and for hard cheeses, it’s perfect. There’s lots of different styles and they’re cheap enough that everyone should have one.

image (2)

Mandoline – I take this out every chance I get. It makes precision cuts that improve presentation. My particular model has a few different blades that make fries, chips, and juliennes vegetables so easy. The only downside is that you will cut yourself, and it is SHARP. Just be sure not to cut off your entire finger. Again, there are lots of styles and come with varying price tags.

unnamed2

An Immersion Blender – I use this for so much: emulsifying vinaigrettes, sauces, purees, soups, pesto, smoothies. Everything is easily made smoother quickly without having to resort to large blender. Whipped cream is my favorite to make with this. I hate my clunky handheld blender. Immersion blenders are also really easy to clean and many models are dishwasher safe. You can get a nice model for under $40, or splurge and get the deluxe version with all the bells and whistles for $100.

image (3)

A Pressure Cooker – Now you may be thinking to yourself, “Wait, didn’t Grandma have one of those that exploded?” Maybe, but nowadays pressure cookers are quite safe. And there’s nothing else that can cut down on cooking time as much as this. You can make your own stock with the best flavor imaginable in only 15 minutes. Braising likewise takes far less time. Get a quality, good sized, electronic pressure cooker and it will be worth it’s weight in gold.

image (4)

Sous-Vide Immersion Circulator – This last one, you may not have heard of. It was developed for labs but brought into kitchens when chefs realized it’s cooking implications. This machine, when placed in water, will circulate the water and keep it at a constant temperature to one tenth of a degree. Foods (mostly meats) are placed in an airtight plastic bag and put in the water where it cooks in it’s own juice creating the most tender and moist food you will ever have. Steaks will be the perfect temperature from edge to edge, and not just in the middle. And because the temperature is constant, you can begin cooking and leave to do whatever else you need with no danger of overcooking. These machines used to be exclusively for restaurants, but home versions like this one have recently been produced and can be purchased for around $200. Granted, a food vacuum sealer (which I recommend with this) will drive up the price, but you can brag to your friends that you were the first to have this.

Note: Huge fan of Tim Love’s Flavor Essentials at Love Bodega.

The Danger of Drinking and Driving

My kids are getting older, and so far I can’t figure out how or why. But I am working on a way to stop and even reverse the process. No luck yet, but I am hopeful. In the meantime, I have to face the awful reality that my kids will soon be facing some pretty big challenges like driving. And with driving comes the freedom to travel and hang out with friends at parties. Which at some point may have alcohol involved. At this point some of you are putting your fingers in your ears and yelling to drown out the noise. Well stop. First off, you’re reading this, so it’s not doing any good. Second, these are the facts. Trying to stop your child from attending any function that may expose them to drugs or alcohol just won’t work. They’ll find their way there, either by accident, or by design. The only thing we as parents can do, is educate our kids, set some rules, and try to instill good judgment. I’m a parent who believes in giving my kids as many facts as I can so they can figure out for themselves which is the best path to take. So in light of that, I’ve gathered some information on drinking and driving, specifically for those who are under 21.

Drinking alcohol when under 21 is illegal anyway, but when paired with driving, the penalties can be severe. One of the biggest problems with underage drinking is that those who do it often binge drink. On average, those under 21 who are involved in drunk driving accidents have a BAC 5 times the legal limit for adults. This leads to massive lapses in judgment and can cause severe accidents.

Every state has a Zero Tolerance Law. Which means that you will get a DUI if your BAC is above 0%-0.02%, depending on the state. Just a sip can land you in serious trouble. The fines for those under 21 are also inflated. Again, this varies from state to state and ranges from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars and jail time from 24 hours to a year. There’s also a probationary period of 3-5 years and community service and alcohol education classes may need to be taken care of. Many states even have “Use or Lose” laws under which a person under 21 using drugs or alcohol will have their license suspended whether they were driving or not.

The effects of an under 21 DUI are much longer lasting than jail time. Insurance rates will skyrocket. Job applications can be severely impacted. Also, much to my surprise, college applications and financial aid can be denied due to an underage DUI.

The negative impact this can have on a child’s life are staggering. Make sure your child has all the facts, and more importantly, all the household rules against drinking. Tell them early, and tell them often.

The negative impact this can have on a child’s life are staggering, and there are many preventative optins you could take. You can make sure you have a DUI attorney on retainer for any incidents that may occur, or you could make sure your child has all the facts, and more importantly, all the household rules against drinking. Tell them early, and tell them often.

Ingle & Rhode Reviews

Human exploitation, conflict diamonds and environmental damage are all major issues facing the jewelry industry today. Many, if not most, jewelers do not deal with these and turn a blind eye. Introducing Ingle & Rhode, a jeweler that not only recognizes these issues, but has created a solution.

Ingle & Rhode have extensively investigated and pioneered a supply chain that allows them to trace the origin of all materials (gold, diamonds, etc.) used in their jewelry.  This chain gives their customers peace of mind, with proof that their jewelry does not come from businesses that exploits their workers or from countries and organizations that fund wars.

It doesn’t stop there. Locating and mining for these materials traditionally has had a negative impact on the environment. It does not have to be that way and Ingle & Rhode only trades with businesses that minimize their environmental impact. This includes using recycled platinum in their jewelry.

Continuing their pioneering ways, Ingle & Rhode is one of a handful of jewelers that have been licensed to sell certified Fairtrade & Fairmined gold jewelry. This creates a fair playing field for communities to compete with global trade.

Ingle & Rhode Reviews

Ingle & Rhode create amazing jewelry that receive great reviews

Now that you know what they stand for, let’s talk about their jewelry. Ingle & Rhode designs and creates custom jewelry to fit many different budgets and personal styles. Meet and work with one of their experts to create a unique piece that can be luxurious or as budget-conscience as you would like.

If you are worried that the exceptional quality and pioneering safeguards will increase the price, think again. Ingle & Rhode’s custom-made jewelry is priced competitively.  But there is no upper-limit, so if you have something more expensive in mind, brief their experts and let them exceed your expectations. Jewelry is usually completed within six weeks.

Ingle & Rhode delivers exceptional custom jewelry while giving their clients the peace of mind that the environment, local communities and workers are treated with respect.  Reviews of Ingle & Rhode are extremely positive.  They have an abundance of satisfied clients, and Ingle & Rhode reviews across the internet are very positive.

Ingle and Rhode Reviews Video

Hotels & Bed Bugs

If you didn’t already know this, I’ve spent the last 10 months living outside my own home. You probably remember my posts about moving to Florida, and maybe you saw me mention how much I love summer all year round (78 degreees in January?! Yes Please). Our original plan was to find a house quickly to buy and move in to it in September, but as we started our look for a home for our family we decided that the best option for us was to build one that had the floor plan and lot size that we liked best.

While they’re making progress on our home, it has taken a bit longer than we originally expected. My sister has been kind enough to let us stay with her while we build the house. We do like to give them their space every now and then and to do so we’ll go to a hotel for a weekend with the boys. We’ve been staying at a bunch of hotels, all seem to be pretty nice, but there was one thing I wasn’t doing when we checked in that I will be doing in the future… Checking the room for Bed Bugs!

I got the idea from the infographic below. I hate bugs, and the idea of bringing home bed bugs from a hotel is just gross! To make sure my sister’s home and our future home is bed bug free, I’ll be following the steps below:

Hotel Bed Bug Infographic
Graphic by Moxie Pest Control of Raleigh, NC