Enchanted Mommy

Make Your Own Bread Crumbs

bread crumbs

Beautiful and fresh bread crumbs.

I recently posted a crock pot Chicken Parmesan recipe.  I never buy pre-made bread crumbs for a couple of reasons.  I only eat whole wheat and I haven’t seen 100% whole wheat bread crumbs at the store and I would much rather have something more fresh.  So, I make my own and it’s SO simple.

You need:
bread of your choice
food processor

I toasted two pieces of bread and pulled them apart and stuck them in my mini food processor (another favorite kitchen gadget that I believe we got on a black Friday for $5).

Make your own bread crumbs

After your bread is toasted, throw it in the food processor.

Process it up and you are finished!

ready bread crumbs

This is what they looked like in the processor.

Most recipes call for what you want to add to the bread crumbs, but you can also be creative with spices and parmesan cheese!


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!

Slow Cooker: Chicken Parmesan

chicken parm from crock pot

Definitely not the most beautiful thing in the world, but oh so delicious!

So, I have to admit my recent obsession for the slow cooker.  I have seriously fallen in love with it and there are a few reasons why.  However, I will save that for a different post.  We went over to my friends house for dinner two weeks ago and she made chicken parm in the crock pot.  It is DELICIOUS!  I decided to make it too.  I did modify it (of course) to fit phase 3 of the South Beach Diet.  She got the recipe from crockpot365 dot blogspot dot com.

Here is what you need:

chicken parm in crock pot

This is what you need for chicken parm in the crock pot!


  • It calls for 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, but I used 6
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I made my own 100% whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 t Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 1/4 t kosher salt
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 beaten egg
  • sliced mozzarella cheese
  • favorite jarred marinara sauce (I used hunts garlic and herb in the can because there is no sugar)
  • spread the 1 T of olive oil into the bottom of your crockpot stoneware insert
  • whip the egg with a fork in a separate bowl
  • mix the bread crumbs with the seasonings and the parmesan cheese in another separate dish
  • dip the chicken into the egg, then into the bread crumb mixture, coating both sides with crumbs, cheese and seasonings
chicken and things for chicken parm

I did an assembly line.

  • place the chicken breast pieces in the bottom of the crock
  • layer 2-3 slices of mozzarella cheese on top
  • cover with entire jar of marinara sauce
sauce covering chicken in crock pot

Ready to cook in crock pot!

  • close lid and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4. If your chicken is still frozen, it will take longer (although I would never recommend putting frozen chicken in the crock pot)
  • Serve with pasta (I didn’t because of my crazy obsession without too much grain)
I thought it was delicious.  I would totally make it for my husband and myself over and over again.  However, it isn’t the best looking dish in the world.  I probably wouldn’t serve it for a formal dinner, but it was so good!

Make Your Own Wreath for $10

After seeing how much a decorated wreath costs, I decided I wanted to make my own.  I am not especially crafty, but I like to try. 🙂  I was very proud of my results… yes, I am still bragging!  I have already bragged to everyone I know (that includes picture texts to my sisters in Florida and anyone else who comes to my door).  Yes, I am just that dorky proud.  🙂I was checking out prices and to get a wreath similar to mine it would cost $35.  I made mine for so much cheaper!  I wish I would have saved the receipt so I could show you how little I spent.  I got the supplies at Michaels.  I went the day before Thanksgiving when all of their Christmas stuff went on sale. Everything was 50% – 70% off (including the ribbon). They also let me use a 25% off my total purchase coupon that came in the weekend mailer.  So fun, so easy!  You basically just pick out the pieces you like and design them around the wreath, then glue them in.  I only bought one set of red berries and then cut the stems to make more pieces.

Before I made this wreath I had no idea even how to tie a bow. Haha… yes, I meant what I said about not being especially crafty.  Anyway, I watched this How-to video and it was so easy!  I actually used two different ribbons at the same time, but still did the exact same steps as shown below.  Beautiful and oh so easy!

Here are a few more wreaths I made.  I made these for $6.50 each since I already had the ribbon.



A Couple Cute Christmas Crafts

Christmas crafts are so fun! The kids love them, I love them, what’s not to love! This past week I did these foot and hand print Rudolphs (my six year said it looked more like a moose…. haha).  Anyway, the kids were hysterical during it.

Rudolph or Moose? You decide!

The kids giggled like crazy when I helped them paint their feet.  “It’s cold” , “That tickles” ,  “Look at me” , “How will I walk now” , “Hehehehe.”  We had a lot of fun!

I did the project on the kitchen floor. I thought it would be easier than at the table, but in actuality I think having them sit on a short stepping stool would have worked best.

Foot and Hand Print Rudolph
So this one is so simple… it is pretty much self explanatory.  Get one foot print and two hand prints.  Cut them out. Glue them together.  Glue on some eyes and use a finger dipped in red paint for the nose.

Holiday Wreaths
The kids also painted and decorated little wreaths to hang up on their doors.  They thought they were pretty cool and tried them out on practically every door.  Cute little monkeys!  Got to love the Christmas excitement though!  I used a paper plate with the center cut out, green paint, and some circles cut from construction paper.

Note the cool dude spiked hair… I so love this cool little guy!

A Super Hero Birthday Party for only $45!

So excited, so excited!  After a lot of planning and anticipation, It was finally time for my little monkey’s 4th birthday party!!!   It was so much fun.  We did a lot of cool things and the entire thing from decorations, party favors, and food cost just $45.  You will love this…  here are the details:

The Invitations:  I used an e-vite.  Simple, free, and easy to track the guest list.  The invitation went a little something like this:  “Calling All Super Heroes!  We must all unite to help defeat the evil villain trying to destroy Tyson’s birthday party.  Meet at hero headquarters at 3pm for some fun super hero training!  Hosted by Wonder Woman (aka Tyson’s Mom).”The Decorations:  I put a home made printed sign saying “Super Hero Headquarters” with a couple balloons on the door. Used some dollar table clothes and balloons, and hung a few streamers.

  • 3- $1 table cloths form the dollar store (one for the play dough table, one for the cake table, and one as the back ground for pictures)
  • 2 – $1 streamers (one red, one blue) from the dollar store
  • 1 – $1 hanging party centerpiece from the dollar store
  • 2 – $1 packages of balloons (one red, one blue) from the dollar store
    TOTAL:  $6 plus tax on decorations

The Party:  As the kids arrived they were greeted and invited to play at the super hero play dough table.  The table had lots of play dough and even more super hero action figures of every type to play in the play dough with.

After all the kids had arrived I sat them all down together and told them that there was an evil villain lurking about trying to ruin the birthday party.  I needed all of them to use their super hero strength to defeat him.  Then I called them each up one at a time to receive their super hero rings (plastic superman rings I got in a 12pack on Amazon).

Just as the last child got his ring, the evil villain (my hubby dressed up and wearing a mask) showed himself while doing an evil villain laugh.  He had two large trash bags full of black balloons.  He told the kids they were bombs and that he would use them to destroy the party of they could not diffuse them in time.  The kids took a couple minutes jumping and popping all the “bombs.”

After all the “bombs” had been defused I told the kids they had all won a super hero award for their work diffusing the bombs.  I gave each child a super hero cape.  They were all pretty pumped to get their capes!  I then told them that the evil villain would be back and that we need to do some special super hero training to prepare.  The Kids went down to the basement for a special obstacle course.  The course ended with a pop up tent full of balls.  Each child had to search through the balls to find their super hero wrist bands with their initials.  (Note:  I just tossed one in before each person started the obstacle course).

One of the party guests during the super hero training course

The kids completed the course to find that they had earned their super hero masks.  The kids now had a ring, cape, wrist bands, and a mask.  They all put them on and posed for pictures in front of a blue background (a plastic $1 tablecloth from the dollar store hung on the wall).  After the pics the evil villain dared to show himself again.  Each of the kids rushed to grab a ball from the pop up house to throw at him.  The birthday boy was given silly string to spray to defeat the villain.

The birthday boy spraying (with a little help from his mom) the evil villain

The super villain was defeated and the birthday party was saved.  Time for cake!  I always make and decorate my own cakes with the birthday boy.  It makes it that much more special.  This was a super man cake.  I also had incredible hulk juice (green sherbet, sprite, and green food coloring – all in a large punch bowl).  It was a big hit.

My sweet sweet birthday boy!

After cake, the kids all ran around playing and pretending in their super hero gear.  I also had a good friend who is awesome at tying balloons do me a huge favor and come help.  He tied a couple balloons for each child.  The boys mostly picked swords and sheaths and the girls picked flowers and animals.

The kids had so much fun, but even better, the birthday boy had a blast and declared he wants a super hero party every year!

Here is the price break down:

  • $6 on decorations
  • $2 for 2 bags of black balloons (used as bombs) from the dollar store
  • $2 cake mix
  • $2 frosting
  • $2.19 2-liter of sprite
  • $2.15 green sherbet
  • $1 for 2 paper cups (one red, one blue) from the dollar store
  • $1 for 2 paper plates (one red, one blue) from the dollar store
  • $1 for red plastic forks from the dollar store
  • $1 for 2 napkins (one red, one blue) from the dollar store
  • $1 for silly string (to spray the evil villain) from the dollar store
  • $10.91 masks and wrist bands
  • $6.68 capes
  • $3.40 superman rings


Making a Super Man Cake!

I have to say that I am huge on making and decorating my kids birthday cakes.  I have three boys and on each of their birthdays we get up and make and decorate a cake together.  I am not an expert (my cakes obviously show that) and I have never taken any cake decorating classes (although I’d love to find time to).  For that reason, and because I always have an extra set of little hands helping me, I need to keep my designs simple.This year my little monkey had a Super Hero party.  He wanted his cake to be superman. I looked up the super man logo and new exactly what to do.  A two layer cake with the top layer cut in the shape of the super man shield logo.

  • Step 1: Bake your favorite cake in two 9-in round pans.  I am a simple when it comes to this… I use a $2 cake mix.  We never choose anything but chocolate at my house!
  • Step 2:  Carefully dump the pans upside down to release the cake from the pans. Put the cakes face up on two different plates and put them in the freezer for a couple hours.  This makes the cake easier and smoother to cut and shape later.
  • Step 3:  Take the cakes out.  Use a long piece of dental floss to cut straight across the cakes to make them level.  If you do not feel confident in doing this, just flip your cake upside down on your cake tray so that the bottom of the cake (the nice and flat side) is facing up.
  • Step 4:  Carve one cake into the shape of the super man shield.  The cake should cut clean and easy if it has been in the freezer long enough.  Using a frosting knife, frost a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake.  It doesn’t matter what color or if bits if cake show in the frosting.  This is only the first layer.  Place the cake back in the freezer (this seals the frosting and allows you to come back and put on another thicker layer of frosting without getting the itty bitty cake pieces in the frosting.  HINT: To save your serving tray from messy frosting while you are decorating, put pieces of parchment paper under the edges.  You can easily pull them off when the decorating is done.
  • Step 5:  Re- frost your cake in the main color you will use and decorate the top with other colors to make the superman logo.  I used a little bit of frosting in a decorating bag with different decorating tips.  You can also use a zip lock bag also; it works just the same.

How to Make Super Hero Capes

I am almost done preparing for my soon-to-be-4 years old’s Super Hero birthday party.  One last detail to make it perfect… super hero capes!  After rummaging through my local party store after Halloween looking for inexpensive capes to use for the party, I realized that it would be easier and more cost effective to make my own.  Then I would get the ones I wanted and spend less money for them.

I collected my 20% off coupon from Joannes Fabric store and headed over.  I found a nice black costume satin material on sale for $1.99 a yard.  I got 4 yards and used my 20% off coupon for the total.  Besides the material, I used some fabric iron on velcro left over from making the super hero wrist bands.

Using a satin material instead of a stretch fabric was a little more difficult to work with. The satin tends to fray a bit around the edges and takes a little more effort hemming. The satin look was worth it though.

Step 1:  Make sure the fabric is pre-washed and ironed before starting.  You want to make sure the fabric is already shrunk before you cut the fabric to the correct size.  Cut the fabric in the the shape of your rectangular cape.  I used a plain rectangle size 2′ by 3′.  TIME SAVER HINT:  Fold your fabric in half when you begin measuring and cutting so that you are cutting two capes at once.
Step 2:  Fold over the sides of fabric and pin down.  Using a overcast stitch, hem all four sides of your quilt.  You can do this by hand, but I highly recommend using a sewing machine.  Almost all machines have and overcast stitch setting.
Step 3:   Cut your velcro into small one inch pieces and iron on to the corners of your cape.

Hemming the egdes was quick and easy. I spent less than 10 minutes on each one and got them all finished during my little guys nap.

So there you go… I made 10 capes and had plenty of extra material.  I could easily have made 2 or 3 more capes out of the extra material if I needed to.  The total cost after taxes for this project was $6.68 since I already had the velcro from making the super hero wrist bands.  If you need to buy the velcro you can get a large package of it for $8 (using the 40% off one item coupon at Michaels).  The velcro will last a long time.

How to Make a Super Hero Mask and Wristbands

My little monkey is asking to have a super hero birthday party this year.  I want it to be really fun, but don’t want to spend a ton of money.  I decided to make the kids their own super hero masks and wrist bands to use during the party and keep as party favors.

I made blue, red, and pink masks for the party.

I ended up finding some really cheap felt pieces at Michaels.  I could pick any five pieces for $1.  I ended up getting 10 pieces, $3 stretching string, and some fabric iron on velcro.  I also used a 40% off one item coupon from the Sunday paper, but you can also find them online.  In the end I was able to make ten super hero masks and ten sets of matching super hero wristbands for a total price of $10.91.  In fact, I ended up having some leftover felt as well.

Making the mask: 
1.  After getting the felt, cut out a mask template.  You can design your own or use one of the many templates they have online.  I used this template.
2.  Use the template to cut masks out of the felt.
3.  Thread your stretchy string through a large holed eye needle.  I used a simple not to hold the string in place on each side of the mask.

Making the Wristbands:
1.  Measure the length of your child’s wrist so you know what length you need to cut your fabric.  The fabric must wrap around at least an inch so there is room to secure the velcro.  I let mine wrap around a bit more since I was planning for kids of different ages at the party and wanted to make sure I left enough room for it to fit the older children as well.
2.  Use the felt to cut out the initial you want to use on the wrist band.  You can cut out any shape you want in place of an initial as well.  By hand, or by machine, sew the edges of the initials to the middle of each wristband.
3.  Cut small one inch pieces of fabric iron on velcro.  Iron on to your felt wristbands.



Here you can see the approximate sizes I used for the letters and the lenghts of the wristbands.


Recipe Party = Huge Success

You might have read my previous post about how excited I was to have my recipe party.  The party was everything that I imagined.  It was so much fun!  Everyone got along so well (probably because I have so many nice friends) and all the food was over-the-top delicious!

Here’s the jist of the party that I previously posted:
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.

It started at 6:30 and I think everyone was here by 6:45, let the party startttttt.  The girls labeled their recipes (I had a sharpie with some blank index cards), grabbed some delicious cocktails and I went around and introduced everyone.

Sangria was a hit cocktail.  I made it (I can’t take credit for the recipe)!


Sangria. One of my recipes. It was a huge hit!

Introducing was actually fun because it brought back old stories that everyone got to hear.

Next, we chowed down!  The food was so delicious.  I took pictures, it’s okay to start drooling because this food was SO scrumptious.

Asian Noodle Salad Recipe Party

This is a delicious Asian Noodle Salad, so yumm!

Broccoli Salad

Jamie brought this! I love broccoli salad for picnics (and you can totally make it south beach friendly).

Buffalo chicken dip with blue cheese

Perfect appetizer! Buffalo chicken dip!

Ceviche yum


I was so proud of my friend that made this!  She never (no exaggeration here) cooks.  This is actually a more difficult dish and it was so yummy!

chicken divan casserole

Classic Chicken Divan. I made this.

I wanted there to be an actual meal type of dish.  I also told the girls that it was a great dish to take to someone if they had a baby or had something going on in their life (i.e. I took it to my aunt when she had a knee replacement).

perfect pumpkin cream cheese dip

Perfect fall appetizer or even sweet treat. Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip!

Rich Potato Casserole

Rich Potato Casserole. I love warm appetizers!

Taco Soup

So, Paula Dean does make a great Taco soup!

There were also two desserts.  There was an ice cream cake and a pumpkin dump cake.  I am so mad at myself for not getting pictures.  Now, I will have to make them and post them for you!  They were both delicious!  My old coworker use to make me an ice cream cake every year for my birthday, so I told her she had to bring it.  Oh man, I want some right now!  The pumpkin dump cake was also a huge hit!  My neighbor that came said she was going to make the pumpkin dump cake for Thanksgiving, see it’s totally worth having a party for all the yummy recipes.

After we ate, we played taboo!  We played the moms against the non-moms.  Team mom won!!  This was so much fun and was a great way for everyone to get to know each other!

Some people began to leave and three girls stayed around and we just chit chatted for a while.  I had the best time and I want to make this an annual tradition.  I love my friends.  The End.