Enchanted Mommy

Why a 7th Birthday Is Special!

Celebrating birthdays with your child or children is only going to get more and more fun over the years. Why? With each birthday and corresponding age, your child is developing their likes, dislikes, opinions, and it’s easier to shower them with events and excitement. They even understand the specialness of a birthday at this point. 

What Makes a 7th So Special

Let’s talk about age seven. The number itself is usually really special – seven is one of those mystical numbers in fairy tales, stories, movies, and lore. It’s also the age when your child is probably making the jump from preschool to grade school. That’s, for sure, something to celebrate, right? 

At this point, the parties are generally longer than an hour or an hour and a half. Guests are often playmates from school, activities, or neighborhood friends. If your little one is celebrating their seventh birthday at school, there’s never a wrong time to bring in cupcakes! 

For your celebration, consider making your child’s seventh birthday party special by planning significant gifts which support the theme of a special seventh. 

  1. Something they want

A great gift is usually something special an individual wants. It’s pleasantly frivolous, typically a toy or an outrageous outfit, accessory, or otherwise. 

  1. Something they need

Did your 7-year-old recently outgrow their soccer cleats and uniform? Did they start a sport you could outfit them in? Gifting your child something they need is a great way to build gratitude, and show them they’ve got the gear to do what it takes for a sport, hobby, or interest. 

  1. Something to read

Is there some book series, set, or universe you can help introduce your child to with books? Or, alternatively, if they’re interested in puzzles, a game-book is a good route to go. 

  1. Something to watch

This one can run the gamut from a video game to a video, a movie to a TV show series. It could be an app you purchase that helps your child learn something, or it could be a more interactive show than the ones running live on streaming services or cable. 

  1. Something they can wear

Whether they’re gifted a party outfit or a new pair of light-up sketchers, something to wear is a great gift for your seven-year-old. Having a new outfit for their party or celebration could be exciting, but it could also be exciting for them to have that pair of sneakers that are just a little too expensive for everyday wear or a costume of their favorite movie character.

  1. Something to play with

Toys are also in the categories of something they want and something to watch, but something to play with is always memorable. Gift sets of ponies, play gardening gear, hot wheels, and more are the type of gifts your seven-year-old will love. Pick a set based on their budding interests.

  1. Something to remember 

At age seven, I received my first cross necklace. It was a special gift and signified a new age of independence, guided by my values and ideas. With that in mind, gifting your child something to remember —  whether it’s an important accessory like a necklace or watch, or instead an event like Monster Jam or Frozen on Ice — is the ultimate way to make an experience a magical memory.

Small Business Saturday: Support Someone’s Childhood Dream

Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers like me to shop small in the wake of big commercial holidays, offering a brick-and-mortar counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It makes shopping for presents for the kids a way to support your community.

If you’ve ever wanted to support a small business with more than just your dollar, you’re not alone. A new survey found that many Americans had childhood dream jobs that would lend themselves perfectly to a small business structure, whether it’s a ghost hunting business, an ice cream truck driver, or a tornado chaser! Big business doesn’t always leave room for the types of big dreams that we hear about from our kids. Unless, of course, they like pretending to work for Apple or Amazon!

According to the study, nearly 60% of people said they still think about their dream job occasionally or often. One small business owner said when they were a kid, they wanted to be a chimpanzee caretaker! The job market for babysitting monkeys isn’t the easiest to get into. Although sometimes I feel like that’s my job as a mom!

As parents, many of us ask our kids, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Deputy’s research confirmed what I would have suspected — a professional athlete, famous actor, and legendary musician were some of the most popular answers. In actuality, those surveyed grew up to become a history teacher, a salesman, and a deacon, respectively! This is the story for many of us, but it’s not too late to support someone else’s dreams or go after your own.

According to the insights, two-thirds of people said they don’t think it’s too late to chase their dreams and that their dream has changed since they were younger. This is where the rubber meets the road in the aspiration of becoming a small business owner. Many were able to pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors only after gaining experience working for someone else. 

For some, owning a business is the dream — and for others, it’s being a mom. Whatever the job may be, participating in Small Business Saturday might at the very least be a  great way to off Thanksgiving dinner. More importantly, it supports the dreams that came true for many of owning a small business that serves its community. Don’t forget to mark Nov 26, 2022, and shop at any nearby stores as you collect your early Christmas presents. You never know— Santa himself may have started off wanting to be a small toy shop owner!

How to Remove Paint from Brick

So I had a major accident in the driveway after one of my painting projects.  Danny was out of town and I was trying to finish a project in the garage during random snippets of time that I could occupy the kiddos elsewhere.  Of course I was rushing…

I spilled a big puddle of oil based primer right on our new brick pavers in the driveway.  So sad.  I googled and googled and all the ehow’s and the ask.com’s said it was impossible to completely remove.  They said to try paint stripper, but that it probably wouldn’t work and would just damage the brick.  Other’s suggested power washing or sand blasting.

This is what it looked like after using three coats of paint stripper. Paint stripper did close to nothing.
This is what it looked like after using three coats of paint stripper. Paint stripper did close to nothing.

I was desperate to clean it and tried scrubbing with the paint stripper three different times.  Nothing.  I kept scouring the internet and everything I read talked about the stone being too porous.

Use Vinegar to Remove Paint From Brick

Finally I found a random comment on a post along ways down on some website saying that he had used plain distilled vinegar to get the paint residue off from in between the bricks of his fireplace.  

Vinegar is often effective at removing paint from bricks. For best results you’ll need to soak the painted surface in vinegar and then scrub the surface. Depending on the type of brick or paver that you have, be careful to not scrub too hard as it can damage the brick.

I had vinegar on hand so I figured I might as well give it a try.

I basically poured the vinegar into a bucket, soaked it up with steel wool and scrubbed with some rubber gloves on.  A good 20 minutes of scrubbing took it right off!  Seriously, Danny didn’t even notice and will have no idea unless he reads this post. 🙂

After scrubbing with vinegar.  You can still see a slightly faded spot if you look closely, but overall it isn't noticeable.
After scrubbing with vinegar. You can still see a slightly faded spot if you look closely, but overall it isn’t noticeable.

This post is for those poor souls who think there is nothing they can do after spilling paint on their stone or brick!  Vinegar!  Who knew!?!?!

Use vinegar to remove paint from brick
The magic potion!

Handprint Stepping Stone

My mom has been making some adjustments to her garden lately.  She asked us to make a hand or foot print stepping stone for each of her grandchildren to put in her garden.

These turned out so cute that I had to post about them!  They are relatively simple to make and are really sturdy.

Handprint Stepping Stone
The final product already out in the garden

You can buy the kit on amazon.  It will come with everything you need except the bucket to mix it in.

All you do is mix the cement with 3 cups of water and stir it up.  Then, pour it into the mold from you kit and wait about 30 minutes.  Then you can decorate with the rocks, letter prints, or anything you want.

mixing cement for stepping stone kit
Mixing the cement

I made three of these (one for each of my boys) and learned a few tricks as I went.

First, after you have let it sit for 30 minutes, if you can see water pooled on the top you need to soak it up with a paper towel and wait another 15 minutes before trying to make a mold of your hand or anything else.  If you dont wait, the hand print will fill with the water and you will have to make your print all over again.

making handprint in stepping stone cement
Decorating the stone

Second, don’t put your stone in the sun to dry.  Leave it somewhere it can sit for at least 48hrs at room temperature.  You want it to dry slowly.  If it dries too fast it will crack.

Finally, once it is done and has dried for at least 48 hrs you can clean it off (I used an old toothbrush to polish it up) and take it out of its mold.

Let stepping stone dry
Let it dry for 48hrs at room temperature. Do not move it while it is drying!
Garden with handprint stepping stones
My mom’s stone garden from her grandchildren.  She actually has 14 grandkids and is still waiting on some to finish up their stones.

DIY: How to Paint a Jute Rug!

Okay so I am picking out things for the new house and came across this very reasonably priced handmade natural fiber jute rug.  It looked perfect under my dining rom table… until my dog got sick and puked on it.  Did you know it is IMPOSSIBLE to clean a jute rug???  I didn’t, but found out very quickly!

Mistake number 1 was using carpet cleaner on it.  This just bleached the rug and made it worse.  Sadly, even using a too much water can discolor a jute rug.

Here is the bleached out spots made from carpet cleaner after the dog puked here.

Here is the bleached out spots made from carpet cleaner after the dog puked here.

So the rug was ruined and I had a chance to experiment with it.  I have heard of other people painting rugs and started googling.  I found a lot of good blog posts online where people updated there jute or sisal rugs by painting them..  Apparently it is pretty easy to paint a rug!  It also looks great!  I used the site jimmychoosonthetreadmill.com for my motivation.  I also like this rug painting post on natalme.com.

So easy!  The only supplies your really need are some foam bushes, a gallon of regular latex paint, and some painters tape.  I painted mine right in the house after the kids went to bed.  I just put a tarp underneath it.  This rug has a thick plastic bottom and didn’t even soak through to the tarp, but the tarp made me feel better just in case.

So here is the rug before I did anything to it.  This is a close up of the texture it has.

So here is the rug before I did anything to it. This is a close up of the texture it has.

I decided on a Chevron pattern and made a triangle from construction paper to make sure the chevron strips were exact.  Then I outlined the triangle back and forth with painters tape.

Notice my pink construction paper triangle.  I used this to measure and make sure my chevron strips were uniform.

Notice my pink construction paper triangle. I used this to measure and make sure my chevron strips were uniform.

After I had the design all mapped out on my rug, I painted! I used a soft foam brush and regular indoor latex paint, just like you would use to paint your walls.  Make sure to get a pack of foam brushes as I went through 3 or 4 on this project.

Can You Spray Paint a Jute Rug?

Personally, I decided not to use Spray Paint on my Jute Rug.  There is nothing that would limit you from doing so but I feel it would leave too shinny a finish.  Instead I used regular latex pain.  I got the paint from Walmart.  Did you know that they have pre mixed colors for 50 – 75% off?  It is hit or miss on what colors they have available, but I was happy to find this shade of grey for $4.

I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on this project since it was my first time painting a rug and I wasn’t sure of the outcome.  I am now ready to admit that I like the rug even better than before!  Considering I bought a $4 gallon of paint and a $4 roll of painters tape, I basically redesigned this rug fabulously for less than $10.

After the paint is dry, peel up your painters tape to see the masterpiece!

A close up of the rug after the painters tape was pulled off.

A close up of the rug after the painters tape was pulled off.

Looks awesome right!

Looks awesome right!

Guests come over and are shocked when I tell them the rug didn’t come this way.  It looks great and I feel so talented! ha! I might even want to try this out on another rug!

Some of the other posts I found on this told me to sand my rug with an electric sander when it was done to take away the crispiness the paint can leave.  I did not do this since this is a jute rug and it already has a tough texture anyway.  I can see how this would be a necessary step on a smoother, less textured rug.

Keeping up a beauty routine as a mom

Between taking the kids to sports, staying on top of homework, cooking dinner, and wearing the many capes we superheroes put on each day, it’s no doubt that our own beauty and self-care can be put on the back burner at times. 

I wanted to know if I was the only one that goes through phases when it comes to my skincare. Of course, sometimes I’m very on top of it, but just like most things, other times life just gets in the way. I found one survey that said 30% of women never miss a day doing their skincare routine. While I strive to be that type of woman, I lean more towards the 70%. Another survey I found said that women said the most neglected parts of their bodies are their back and feet. If that’s not ironic, I don’t know what is. So this got me thinking. What tips can I use myself and try to help others so we can start taking care of ourselves?

  1. Make time for yourself

We make time for literally everything else. School, extracurricular activities, PTO meetings, date night, etc. Why not carve out time on a saturday morning or after work for a much needed facial or pedicure?

  1. Your well being is just as important as your loved ones

It’s easy to feel guilty about putting your needs first. “This is time I could be putting towards the family.” “This is time I could be putting into work.” Remember, you can’t give your 100% self unless you feel you are at 100%. Sometimes, a simple night time face mask can rejuvenate you into feeling recharged. 

  1. Treat it as a priority, not a reward

Self-care shouldn’t be looked at as something to reward yourself with after a long day of mommy duty, it should be part of your “task list”. Consider it one of the most relaxing “tasks.”

What to expect when your kids call home

One of the most exciting yet terrifying moments as a parent is when it is time for one of your children to leave the house. Whether they are off to college, the military, or moving away to gain independence; it can be one of the hardest yet proudest moments for parents. 

The good news is that they are only a phone call away. But how much can we expect to hear from them? 

Chicco did a new study about how much Americans call their parents and some of the big questions they might ask. It may come as no surprise that kids will likely call their dads about car problems and home improvement, whereas moms may get questions about cooking and relationships. 

Regardless, there is no guide to how to live on your own. The closest thing to it is a call to your parents.  

So moms, according to this article, here’s what to expect. Mama knows best, as they say, and 32% of Americans turn to their moms for major life decision advice. Another big call to prepare for is cooking advice. 22% of Americans turn to their moms for cooking tips because nothing beats a home-cooked meal made with love. A valuable gift is putting together a small cookbook of your children’s favorite easy recipes. The other big calls to expect are relationship advice and childcare tips. The first time for everything is scary, definitely need some advice from an expert! You may receive occasional questions about financial needs, home care, and laundry.

Now dads, get ready to take your How-To manuals and spreadsheets out. Fatherly advice is extremely helpful and valuable, and 28% of Americans call their dads for major life decisions. The following big calls are home maintenance (24%), car issues (22%), and finances (18.5%). The least expected calls are the parenting and babysitting tips and cooking advice. 

Regardless of what your kids are calling to talk about, whether a real-life problem or to say hello, 68% of Americans call their parents a fair amount—only 62% of parents expect a call. If you have a daughter(s), you can expect calls more often than if you have a son(s). No matter how you put it, parenting comes with challenges, and one important thing to remember is communication.

Just because they may be moving out, it does not mean your role as a parent stops. You have spent 18 years providing all the best life advice to prepare them for the real world. Find ways to communicate with your children while giving them the freedom to navigate their own life and be there for them to fall back on for advice, love, and guidance.

Brunch, please! These are the best cities for your next Sunday Funday.

Ecaterina Tanase

Calling all mommas! The verdict is in: you are required to phone your sitter and call up your girlfriends for a Sunday Funday. 

I know, I know. We all love our children dearly and want to spend our weekends with them. From soccer practice, to playdates, your Saturday and Sundays can be brimming with too many activities for you to take an afternoon for yourself. 

The thing is, moms do deserve time reserved for themselves on those busy Sunday afternoons, and it’s okay to call in some back up while you call up your girlfriends. 

That’s why I wanted to share this list of the best cities for a Sunday Funday to inspire you to take some time, grab some wine, and head out on the town. 

The team at Fashion Nova (you know, that clothing company you’ve probably seen all over social media) recently crunched the numbers on Sunday Funday hotspots across the country. First, they determined what makes the best Sunday, like best cocktails, most brunch spots, and affordability. Then, they weighted each factor on a 50 point scale to determine the best cities for your next Sunday Funday. 

Fashion Nova

So if you are in or near one of these top 10 cities, send this article to your besties so you can explore all of what Sunday has to offer. Your after work hours don’t always have to be so busy, girl! Sometimes we gotta be selfish on a Sunday so we can be refreshed for another busy week giving it all to our kids. 

Have fun! 

Are you one of America’s shopaholics? This new survey may have an answer.

Would you consider yourself a shopaholic mommy? Let’s face it, overspending is so easy to do when you’ve got littles ones to purchase for, and your budget can get a little blurred.

Bella Ella Boutique, an online boutique that sells women’s apparel, recently asked people across the country to disclose their spending habits to determine where people are doing the most shopping. 

After all, the past two years have been stressful for everyone—and retail therapy might be the way some are coping with pandemic blues. “Whether it’s coping with a stressful situation or celebrating an exciting, new opportunity, there’s something extremely empowering about buying a brand new outfit that perfectly matches your aesthetic,” says Bella Ella Boutique. 

To find out which states are spending the most on shopping, the researchers asked over 2100 people to disclose how much they spend annually on clothes and accessories, then compared that to the median annual income in their respective state. 

According to the survey, Louisiana is home to the most shopaholics. The average person spends over 8% of their annual income solely on fashion purchases in the Creole state, which adds up to roughly $2,276 each year reserved for the trendiest clothes. 

Following behind Louisiana at No. 2 is Texas, where residents spend more than 7% of their income on clothes and accessories—Go big or go home! Alabama, Nevada, and Nebraska rounded out the top five. 

Is your state included in the list? You can check out the full report here

How to Prepare Your Child for Success in College

A large part of childhood is often defined by education. The school, teachers, and classes a child takes part in have profound effects on their overall development and trajectory. It starts in elementary school with accelerated learning programs which ultimately lead to honors and AP courses. These curriculums affect what (if any) college a student attends and what career path they ultimately take. 

But even if your child earns straight As and follows the highest curriculum, is it enough? College is certainly a big adjustment for anyone, despite all the prep-work high school students commit to. Just as parents are recommended to start making financial plans well in advance, it’s never too early to start thinking about plans to make the academic transition as smooth as possible. 

A recent survey by Grand Canyon University found that 79.2% said they felt adequately prepared for college by their high school. That means more than 2 out of every 10 struggled with the adjustment. When looking at preparedness by specific categories, 53.5% felt their high school failed them in ‘developing skills/knowledge to live on my own in the future’. 

Luckily, as parents, there are many things we can do to circumvent these struggles. If college is a goal for your child, it’s best to start preparing early to make the transition as seamless as possible. Few parents want to think of the idea of dropping off their child at university while they’re still in their early stages of life, but it’s best to be proactive years before you’re actually faced with the situation. 

From an academic perspective, this may mean enrolling your child in additional tutoring beyond what may be offered in school. It’s a common misconception that tutoring should be used when a child is not meeting expectations. In reality, tutoring can be used to build on skills being taught in the classroom and cultivate a customized learning experience for your child’s needs. No matter where your child is in their classroom, one-on-one attention can go a long way. 

What’s perhaps more important than building on what they are being taught is considering what they aren’t. Things like personal finance, time management, and relationship building are important components of living on your own that often aren’t emphasized in traditional schools. Sure, you don’t need to teach your toddler how to balance a budget, but you can start introducing smart money habits at a young age to build a routine. 

No matter what methods you take to prepare your student for a seamless post-high school transition, be sure to provide support and care for your child along the way. This way, even if they face battles when they finally get to the college stage, they’ll know they aren’t fighting them alone.