Monthly Archives: February 2009

Scratch & Sniff Watercolors

When we end up with packets of stuff like Kool-aid, it ends up in our craft drawer for fun recipes like this one.  The colors are nice and bright and it smells nice and fruity.  :)

Scratch & Sniff Watercolors

1 Tbs. unsweetened powdered drink mix
1 Tbs. warm water
several small containers (muffin tins work well)

Mix water & drink mix together in a small bowl.  Repeat this step several times, using various flavors of drink mix to create different colors of paint.  Allow to dry overnight before scratching & sniffing!

(original author unknown)

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Beating the Winter Blahs

A lot of people are feeling down right now.  Winter has been dragging on and lots of us have been housebound and sun-deprived.  Kids have cabin fever, parents are stressed about economic worries and the world tends towards gray and dreary.

I’ve been battling winter blahs myself lately.  It seems like this time of year always gets to me.  I am not a fan of 5 months of cold and gray.  :) 

Here’s some things that help pick me up…

  • Simmer a big pot of water on the stove all day and dump in anything that smells good (spices, potpourri, fruit peels, a few drops of essential oils…).  It will help beat those winter colds, humidify the air and lift your spirits with heavenly scents.  Likewise, bake something that both smells and tastes fabulous.
  • Take advantage of the sunshine and get outside for a while with the kids, even if it’s cold.  Sunlight really does affect our moods, and the fresh air will do you good.
  • Put on a favorite CD and dance with the kiddos.  The exercise will release feel-good endorphins, you’ll burn some calories and happy music can’t help but make a dent in even the grouchiest mood.
  • Call a friend who makes you laugh.
  • Get some perspective.  As tough as times are, most of us are still pretty darn lucky.  Spend 15 minutes reading the blog of a mom who’s just lost her child to cancer and you really remember what matters.
  • Ask for help.  If you’re overwhelmed with life, whether from a new baby or just juggling too much, it’s okay to lean on people.  Many people are happy to help if they know what you need.  Even if it’s just asking your hubby to watch all of the kids for an hour so you can soak in the bathtub, give people an opportunity to help.  Likewise, help others who need it.  It’s one of the quickest ways out of a funk for me.  If you feel you are seriously depressed, talk to a doctor or therapist.
  • Pamper yourself and your family.  Make comfort food, wear your coziest pajamas, watch favorite movies, sleep in, be especially nice to yourself and each other.
  • Get enough sleep.  Sleep deprivation affects everything from health to weight to mood.  It’s tempting to stay up late to catch up on things, but it’s vital to get all the sleep we can. 
  • Be especially loving.  When we’re feeling down, it tends to be contagious.  Chances are the rest of the family is too, and that leads to an endless loop of everybody dragging everybody farther down.  Be especially nice to your sweetie.  Give your kids extra hugs.  Tell them you love them and why.
  • Wear a colorful spring outfit or put on red lipstick, anything that makes you feel festive or pretty.  Unless you’re a dad.  ;)
  • Be present.  Really pay attention to your children and take it all in.  We get so caught up in coping sometimes that we go on autopilot and next thing we know we’re wondering how our babies could possibly be so grown up.  Get down on their level and play.  Watch them sleep.  Listen to their funny laughs.  Pay attention when they ramble on while you’re trying to get the kitchen cleaned.  Better yet, stop cleaning and play.  As crazy-making as these times can be, some day they’ll be gone and chances are we’ll miss them. 
  • Laugh and smile, like it or not!  ;)  There’s something to the old saying "fake it till you make it."  Studies have shown that smiling really does make us feel happier and laughing is plain old good for you.
  • Make some changes.  We only get one life and it passes quickly.  Don’t coast through it or waste today waiting for tomorrow.  Fix the stuff that you can.  Make it good!  It’s worth the trouble.  :)
  • Play.  One of the perks of parenthood is the excuse to do fun stuff with our children.  Play marbles or Hyper Dash (we love that game) or Uno or catch.  Build block towers.  Race Matchbox cars.  Make paper dolls.  Climb a tree.  Have a snowball fight.  Play with play dough.  Swing.  Finger paint.  Spin tops.  Do the hand jive.  Go sledding.  Have fun!  It’s good for you.

Last week I was in a real funk.  The week before that I was too, and the week before that. This week I have sailed down a sledding hill with a grinning toddler, played toilet paper toss in my kitchen, got together with friends, spent several hours in a park on a sunny day, colored with my kids and really got down and enjoyed my one year-old.  I feel better than I have in months.  I just might survive winter after all.

Oh yeah.  Chocolate helps too.  :)

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Comments are Fixed!

Some people wrote and said they weren’t able to comment without subscribing to Live Journal.  I went through the settings and I think I have that taken care of.  It should be set now so that anybody can comment.  Fingers crossed.  :)

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Hand Lotion Play Dough

Looking for a fun way to pass some time with the kids today?  Here’s our family’s favorite quick play dough recipe.  It’s no cook, easy and uses things you’re likely to have on hand.  Best of all, it smells great and feels better than most no-cook doughs.

 

Hand lotion playdough

Mix 2 cups of flour with a half cup of salt.  

Add 1 cup of hot water with food coloring of choice added (we like Wilson cake decorating colors because they’re so intense and there’s lots of colors), 1 TBS cooking oil and 1 TBS hand lotion (use all natural if you like, or a scent your kids are fond of).  

Stir well, add a little flour if necessary if it’s sticky. I usually have to tinker with a little extra flour.

This lasts pretty well and smells really good if you use a nice lotion.  It can be fun to use a tropical scent or one that really smells heavenly.  It’s also fun to make a few batches and match scents to colors (like purple with lavender scented and red with cherry).  Just remind the kids that this one isn’t edible.  :)

Store in a ziplock bag in the fridge to make it last even longer.

 

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Magical Moments

Calling all magical mamas!  And dads and grandmas and others.  :)

Some folks wrote me and said they were going to try doing the birdseed gingerbread house idea I posted the other day.  If you do something from the Magical Childhood site/blog and take a picture or blog about it, I’d love to put it up!

Feel free to share any photos, blog entries, tips or crafts you have that capture any magical times with your kiddos.  I’d really love to share them.  I’ll post a link to your blog or just post your photo and thoughts here.

I’m also thinking of doing some sort of monthly blog carnival of magical moments or perhaps a weekly challenge with a different theme each week.  What do you all think?  Anybody interested?  Anybody even out there?  <G>

Let me know if there’s anything you’d suggest for this blog.  It’s all new to me and I’d love input.

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Pipe Clean Hairdresser

I hope you had a fun Mardi Gras.  We did some sledding, had a tailgate party with some friends at a park and even did a little pancake racing (with some frozen pancakes and paper plate holders as griddles). 

Here’s a simple little craft that my daughter Victoria made up last year out of a tiny bit of cardboard taped into a triangle & some spare pipe cleaners she found.  She had a blast with it & I loved the darling little looks she came up with.

 

She says she used a little triangle of cardboard she found but a toilet paper tube will work fine.  She drew a face and put in all the spare pipe cleaners she could find around the house.  :)  Then she just stuffed the inside with a paper towel to hold the pipe cleaners in place. 

Voila, an instant hairstyle doll! 

 

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Fat Tuesday!

Happy Mardi Gras!

We’re spending the day at a sledding party out of town, but we’re going to do our best to don some beads and wear some green, purple and gold.

If you want to celebrate the day with your kids, this site has just the right amount of history & fun to get you started.

For some easy ways to join the fun, here’s a few ideas…

  • Decorate the kids’ faces (use Halloween paint, bright makeup or even washable markers)
  • Search the house for beads and wear as many as possible
  • Stage a parade around the house or neighborhood
  • Make your own "bead" necklaces by stringing cereal (like Cheerios or Fruit Loops) or macaroni
  • Draw a simple mask like this one on cardstock or spare cardboard and cut out for the kids to decorate with paint, glitter or even feathers.  Tape a straw, pencil or chopstick onto the side to hold it up.
  • Wear green, purple and gold
  • Make colorful construction paper crowns to wear
  • Make and play a King Cake game
  • Try to talk with a Cajun accent all day
  • Color Mardi Gras coloring pages
  • Incorporate the tradition of baking a bean or coin into a cake and hide a pea or bean in supper (something nobody will choke on!). Whoever gets it can wear a silly crown or be king or queen for the day.
  • In the UK, today is also Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day.  Traditions include making pancakes for supper and having pancake races (women would race to a finish line while flippingpancakes).  Have pancakes for supper, take turns trying to flip pancakes high without dropping them or have your own pancake races.

Now I must race around and help children find snowpants, mittens, hats and boots.  Happy Tuesday!

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

10 Ways to Make Today Magical…..

1.  If you have snow, invite the kids to make giant "tracks" to attach to their snow boots.  Cut strange looking feet out of a large cardboard box and cut two holes in the bottom to tie them on.  Tie around each boot and have the kids tromp through the snow leaving their wacky tracks.  If your tots are too little, do it yourself and then surprise them with the mystery footprints.

2.  Buy or make a greeting card for your child saying how much you love her, just because.  Leave it someplace for her to find in private.

3.  Go sledding inside!  Get out a big towel and drag the kids around the kitchen floor.  Kids can pull each other around, too.

4.  Go to the dollar store and let your child pick out a beautiful, unique glass or mug to be his own for family meals.

5.  Hang art, photos and souvenirs on the insides of all the cupboards for an instant smile.

6.  Make a list of 50 things you love about your child and read it to him or slip it in his backpack.

7.  Let the kids paint fun scenes or designs on the bottoms of their shoes.  (To protect the rest of the shoe, slip it through a plastic bag with an oval cut out just smaller than the sole and tape in place.)

8.  Get together some graham crackers, peanut butter or soybutter and a variety of bird seeds and nuts and make a "gingerbread house" for the birds and squirrels.  Assemble like a regular house with peanut butter as the icing/glue.  Take a picture of your masterpiece and then leave it where it’s visible from inside so you can watch to see who visits.

9.  Get glow in the dark paint and help the kids write secret messages and pictures on their ceilings.

10. Check out some books, musicals or other performances on tape or CD from your local library and play them while you make supper together each evening– or at least one evening a week.  Take turns getting to choose what to pick and be adventurous!

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Welcome and rambling thoughts

Welcome to the new Magical Childhood blog! 

For about 8 years, I sent out my Magical Childhood newsletter.  First it was nearly weekly, then monthly, then it tapered off to once or twice a year.  I always felt guilty, like I was letting down countless readers by being such a deadbeat.  :)  I went from having two little girls to four kids of all ages and I never seemed to find the time to put together a whole newsletter that met my rather perfectionistic standards.  I still wanted to stay connected to all the wonderful mamas (and grandmas and teachers and librarians and day care workers…) who had written and let me into their magical lives or asked for support when life seemed way less than magical.  And I kept finding neat stuff I wanted to share.

This blog is my way of trying to get connected once more to all the fabulous folks out there who are trying to give their kids a magical life.  I miss typing to you in the middle of the night.  I miss sharingwacky ideas and craft recipes.  I’m back.

As I type this, I once again have a sleeping little one in my arms.  There is mayhem going on behind me, as always.  And there’s so much I want to share with you all again.

Let’s have some fun then, shall we?

Happy Monday!

~ Alicia

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