I keep meaning to get back to posting daily or near-daily, but life is still so busy here. We are finishing up the season of “putting things up” — making applesauce and apple cider from extra apples on friends’ trees, grape jelly from Grandma’s backyard grapevines, salsa from flats of tomatoes from the farm family down the highway, and so on. I love this season and I love that Daryl and I have taught ourselves these old fashioned skills and are teaching them to our kids, but it is a lot of work and I will also love the slower pace of winter once the apples, zucchinis, tomatoes, pumpkins and other goodies have all been dealt with.
We’ve also been busy with making the most of fall — lots of hiking and outings, nature studies and so on.
Magical Childhood is always busy this time of year, when What Should a Four Year-Old Know? gets shared again and brings a new flurry of visitors. Many of you know it was also shared in Huffington Post last month, and it was translated into another handful of languages. Another neat thing is that a community magazine in North Dakota asked to reprint my article 10 Things to Do Instead of Yelling, which is one of my favorite articles from my parenting columns at examiner.com. I’m trying to finish up the Magical Childhood book at last, too, but to be honest I am more than a little flaky about finishing it and I tend to go off and play when I should be working. :) Perhaps saying it here will help motivate me to get back to work!
And that’s enough yapping out of me.
Here’s a few ways to make some memories with your kiddos this week…..
1. Make some leaf art, like Color Me Katie. She punched out little hearts from dead leaves and then created whimsical vines and such around her neighborhood with them.
2. Wear fancy clothes all day, just because. We’ve had a whole stash of thrift store costumes, capes and prom dresses for years to make an ordinary Monday seem more special.
3. Take your child out for coffee or dessert. Head out someplace, just the two of you, to enjoy some lazy conversation over something tasty. Take the time to really talk (and listen!).
4. Bring the kiddie pool inside and fill it with fun nature items like dried leaves and seed pods. Spread a sheet out underneath it to help with cleanup. To make it even more fun, give your little one some markers to decorate the leaves and items. Be sure to involve the kids in the clean up!
5. Make pumpkin pie playdough. We made this every fall for years and I need to make it up again soon (I’m going to try swapping corn flour for the flour for my gluten free little guy this time). It smells heavenly and is so much fun to play with! Note that this makes a lot (we have a lot of kids!), so feel free to use some math with the kids and make smaller batches.
Pumpkin Pie Playdough Recipe
- 5-1/2 cups flour
- 2 cups salt
- 8 teaspoons of cream of tartar
- 1 container (1-1/2 oz) of pumpkin pie spice ( If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, just substitute cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, or whatever combination of them you have on hand!)
- 3/4 cup oil
- orange food coloring (2 parts yellow, 1 part red)
- 4 cups water
Mix all ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until all lumps disappear. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth. Store in a plastic bag.
Note: For extra sensory fun, you can also let the kids press in some clean roasted pumpkin seeds.
6. Start a recipe box or cookbook of family recipes you teach your child. Bake and cook them together and write each one out as you teach it to add to the collection. Don’t know very many? Learn together!
7. Make some fall projects like twig looms.
8. Write a letter to your child all about who he is right now, what he loves and why you love him. Tuck it into someplace safe for the future. Be sure to show him or tell him all those things too!
9. Stick a giant piece of clean contact paper to a window (sliding glass doors are also perfect) and gather up an assortment of seasonal pretties for your child to stick to it. You can use fall leaves, squares of colorful tissue paper, shapes cut from construction paper, natural items like milkweed fluff, you name it.
10. Be outrageously silly at odd times, for no reason, all day long! Suddenly widen your eyes and say, “Oh no! I forgot to give you noisy kisses!” and scoop up your toddler. Stick your tongue out and grin at your teenager. Be silly as much as you possibly can.
And with that, magical people, I’m off to do the oh-so-magical task of several loads of laundry. Perhaps I’ll tickle some small people on my way….
Have a wonderful week. Don’t forget to take care of you!