Monthly Archives: May 2009

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

1.  Find some good strong, long sticks and paint them to be your official summer walking sticks.  The more colors the better!

2.  Dedicate a song to your kids on the radio.

3.  Make today polka dot day.  Wear polka dotted clothes.  Draw polka dots on each other.  Make polka dotted dinners (hint– peas in mashed potatoes work well, and ketchup makes great polka dots on anything!).

4.  Plant sunflower seeds in the back yard.  See if you can grow flowers taller than the kids– or you!

5. Design a family crest.  Show the kids some examples of royal family crests and give them the task of agreeing on one for your family.  Frame a copy on the wall.

6.  Set a family fitness goal.  Pick a number of hours of exercise for the family to log by the end of the summer and a great family prize (like a trip to a water park, horseback riding or a camping trip) if you meet it.  Figure out a good goal (an average of an hour a day per person, 6 days a week for 10 weeks for a family of 4 would be 240 hours, for example) and be sure to list all sorts of healthy ways to exercise– swimming, playing tag, dancing, playing sports, volleyball, etc.  Log your hours on the fridge and work together as a team to get healthy and make your goal.

7.  Deconstruct some old costume jewelry and make sparkly suncatchers and decorations to hang in the windows.

8. Slip knock-knock jokes into the pockets of their clothes.

9.  Make the fanciest cake you can together and decorate it lavishly.

10. Go looking for some new spring baby animals– to the park for baby ducks, to a farm for baby lambs or calves, or to a zoo if they have any new additions.

Have a magical week!
~ Alicia

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Rainy Day Fun

Magical Mama Kristie in Australia shared this sweet way to pass the time when you’re cooped up…

I had a suggestion for a rainy day thing to do – we did it today with my boys and watched old home videos – they were intrigued about themselves as babies…and felt very special being on tv! LOL!

It’s been a long time since we’ve gotten our old home movies out and it’s a great idea.  Now if it would only rain….  :)

Thanks Kristie!


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It’s a Girl Thing

Victoria has a new favorite web site and I wanted to let you all know about it because it seems like such a great resource for girls.  I’ve known about New Moon for years and always meant to subscribe at some point, but with Victoria at such a tricky age right now I thought this would be a great time.


 
The magazine subscription now comes with a one year membership to the web site, and Victoria loves it.  She visits more than any other site, by far.  She says she loves that she can post questions for older girls that she might be embarrassed to ask me, she loves all the ways she can use her creativity there and the sense of community is really special.  

Girls can post artwork, share problems, decorate their "rooms," make their own artwork into "stickers" to leave for girls as a friendly hello, read advice, learn about everything from myths to wacky facts, share poetry, read book reviews, mentor younger girls and so much more.

I highly recommend it!

(Note:  No kickbacks, bribes, fancy chocolates or promises of lifelong adoration were offered for me to post this post!)  :) 
 

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Silver Medal Girl 2

I couldn’t just post about one daughter’s soccer results and not the other.  :)  Annalee had her soccer tournament today and also got a silver medal!


(Anna is the third girl on the bottom)

Her team was undefeated this season but the red Walnut Grove team was just unstoppable today!  They won their first two games and then red team beat them.  They worked their way back up and faced off with the red team again in the final game and it was very close (2 to 3) but victory went to Walnut Grove yet again (they took gold in Victoria’s age group against our town last night too).

Anna’s team (the white team) sure gave us some great entertainment though!  Their second game of the day went into double overtime.  They were still tied up and they went to a shoot out, where each team had 5 players kick towards the goal and whoever scored the most points won.  The red team was ahead 2-0 and white came from behind.  At the last kick white tied THAT up too! They went to sudden death.  The red team missed their first kick.  White’s little goalie said he wanted to try and that was allowed.  He got it!  White won!  What a suspenseful game!

Anna’s soccer career has been quite an experience.  She played one year when she was very young and it was very easy and then she quit the next year because it was too rough and scary.  She was one of those kids who was afraid when the ball came at her.  Last year she didn’t want to try out at all.  This year she decided to give it a shot and she’s been getting right in the thick of things. 

She even blocked the ball with quite a blow to the stomach today!  She proudly told us afterwards about "taking one for the team."  It knocked the wind out of her!

All season I have gotten a kick out of watching her because she is such a little butterfly of a girl.  She flits all over.  She does random dance moves when she’s bored.  She chats with her teammates nearby when there’s no action (all with her eyes still on the ball).  She bounces and spins and smiles.  When there’s action she runs right up and gets in there, though, and she had some great kicks today.

I love this picture of Annalee because it sums up all the parts of her personality.  She’s wearing her children’s theater T-shirt for the drama and love of acting.  She’s got her ever-present camera in her hand for photos and movies.  She’s wearing dangly dress-up earrings because she will always be the ultimate girlie-girl.  And she’s got her beloved soccer ball, because she’s learned to love the game and that she’s pretty tough after all.

 

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Ladybug Ladybug

Got any ladybug lovers at your house?  How about bug catchers?  Photographers?  Scientists?  Kids with any of the above interests might want to take part in the Lost Ladybug Project.

Researchers at Cornell University are collecting photographs and data from helpers all over to try to find more information about our dwindling population of native 9 spotted ladybugs (and even more rare 2 spotted ladybugs). 

They have all the information on their site about how to find them, collect them, photograph them, submit your data and return them to the wild.  You can also get some nifty teaching materials, download a ladybug song (with lots of ladybug info!), see the map of where they’ve been found so far and lots more.

If fireflies are more your speed (and you just want to count them), check out Firefly Watch too, plus lots of other nature projects that could use your help.

Happy Sunday!

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Silver Medal Girl

Victoria had her soccer tournament tonight and I had to post a quick update. 

The Pink Panthers won their first game and lost the second, by only one point, to the undefeated top rated team in the league.  They took silver.

Victoria said several of her teammates congratulated her for some of her plays.  Including the bully.

Later, she was sitting on the bench and the bully said something to her.  She ignored him, as usual.  He asked her, "What’s the matter, don’t you ever talk?" and she said in her best, loftiest voice, "I DO talk, I just choose not to talk to YOU."

She said the rest of the team burst out laughing.  She couldn’t help smiling when she retold the story.

The coach told her she was his MVP and his favorite player.

She’s decided she wants to join the soccer camp that starts next week for her age bracket — even with the bully.

She told the coach that she wanted to play next year after all and he said he was planning on quitting, but if she comes back he’ll come back.

Talk about victories.

Tomorrow, Anna has her soccer tournament.  She has loved it all along and her team is in first.   She makes me smile when she’s on the field… 


But it’s late and that’s another story.  :)

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Today’s a Good Day to…..

…Try to catch a toad!

Here’s some tips here and here.
Don’t keep him!  Thank him and let him go.

Better yet, make a toad house in your back yard and see if they’ll come to you!
Here’s tons more information on the perfect toad home.

Or go all out and make a toad village, like these folks!

   

Want to get to know your guests?  More toad info here!

Hoppy Friday!

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

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Quitters and Winners

A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.
– Napoleon Hill

Monday afternoon, I gave Victoria permission to quit soccer in the very last week of the season.  It was not the first time I told her she could quit.  Indeed, I had been telling her to practically from the beginning.

I know our society has done a really good job of teaching us all that we have to raise children who will stick it out no matter what, endure the unpleasant, keep going.  It doesn’t matter if you hate it.  It doesn’t matter if it’s something that will serve no purpose in your life.  There is a nobility in carrying on.

Pah.

Victoria dearly loves the sport of soccer.  She loves her coach.  She loves to scrimmage.  And she would get so stressed out before practice that she would end up with a stomach ache and often cry.  She never asked to quit.  She didn’t believe in it.  She just carried on, miserable.

My girls both played soccer through the school league a few summers ago and loved it.  They were on the same team and had a sweet coach and neat teammates.  The next year, Victoria was on her own and once again had a ball.  Last year, we missed the deadline to sign up.  This year, she’s on the team with the 5th to 8th graders (she’s 5th grade) and it’s a whole different world.

She is one of only two 5th graders and she is the smallest kid on the team.  Not only that, but she is the only homeschooler and she didn’t know many of the other kids.  A few of the kids viewed her as an easy target.

At the first practice, a few of the boys were obnoxious to her.  She ignored them and concentrated on playing soccer.  After a few practices, most of the kids stopped picking on her except one.  That kid and some of his cronies kept on.  And on.  And on.

This boy would make nasty comments to her every single practice, over and over again.  She didn’t usually tell me.  She wanted to tough it out.  She mentioned it enough that I knew he was not stopping, though.

It wasn’t just the bully that made her miserable, though.  It was the fact that the other kids on the team never did accept her.  She was alone.  She was an outcast.  She is used to making friends easily and being a bit of a leader.  She was also much smaller and had much less soccer experience.  With these older, bigger, ruder kids she was just some little kid who couldn’t kick hard.

Victoria has always loved soccer but it wasn’t long before she nearly got a panic attack each afternoon of soccer practice.  And so I told her it was okay to quit.  I encouraged it, even.

I was one of those kids who was forced to "tough it out" in numerous things over the years and I never felt particularly proud or happy afterwards that I’d endured it to the end.  I was just glad it was finally over. 

I see the merit in sticking things out — and certainly in at least giving them a real shot.  I wouldn’t encourage my kids to quit something after one day, but after weeks of misery?  Go for it! 

Monday afternoon, my little girl was once more in tears over going to soccer practice.  It’s the last week of practice before the tournament tomorrow.  The last practice!  And she was a mess.

I told her it was up to her, but if she wanted to play in the tournament she’d have to go to practice.  I told her I didn’t care in the least if she quit, and I wouldn’t lose any respect for her. 

She said she’d never be able to face anybody if she quit.  She said she’d be weak.  She said she thought she was going to be sick.

And so I told her about the time I got to quit violin lessons and the gifted club.  I told her what a relief it was, and how I never regretted it.  I told her if she wanted to quit she should quit. 

And so she quit, on the very last day of practice.  She looked like 100 pounds of weight was off her shoulders.

I walked across the street to the field where the team was practicing and returned a ball the coach had lent her.  I told him she wouldn’t be at the tournament, and why.  He said he’d suspected that kid was picking on her but he wished he’d known the extent of it.  He also said she was one of his most improved players and one of his toughest because she’s one of the few that’s not afraid of the ball.  He said he’d keep her name on the roster Friday night for the tournament and hoped she’d finish it out.

I went back and told Victoria all that he’d said.  I told her again that it was okay either way.  I told her it wasn’t too late to suit up and join practice if she changed her mind.

She did.

She rushed into her outfit and gathered all her supplies, and we ran out for her to join practice after all….  Just in time for the team to be going home.  The coach told us the players had annoyed him so much he sent them home early.  We told him we’d practice on our own then and she told him she’d be at the tournament.

One of the kids hollered something out to her, even with me right there.  I hollered back.

Anna, Jack, Alex and I did our best to help Victoria practice soccer.  It was a bit of a train wreck (Jack got hit in the arm by the ball and cried, Anna eventually refused to play anything but goalie or take her bike helmet off, and Alex mostly tried to push a stroller onto the field) but it was perfect to me.  Her siblings were supporting her in a way that her teammates never had, and she was practicing in front of the last of them without caring in the least what they thought of her.


I’m proud of Victoria for finishing it up, but I’ll be proud of her no matter what.  This is a girl who stands up to bullies to defend children she doesn’t even know, a girl who will throw her body in front a ball that’s been blasted by a person twice her size, a girl who has made me proud every day of her life.  Quitting soccer couldn’t diminish that.

We’ll be rooting for her tomorrow night at the tournament.  Their team has a good chance of coming in dead last.  None of us care.

She’s already won.  :)

 

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Shaving Cream Madness

Well, we found a way to occupy ourselves this morning despite the rain! 
I got out a can of shaving cream and invited the kids to spread it all over the table. 

I read once that shaving cream was good for wood tables.
I personally think it’s highly unlikely
but my table is older than I am
and has frankly had way WORSE stuff on it than shaving cream
so it can’t complain!

The kids had a blast.

It got a wee bit messy!

And then somebody decided to climb onto the table!
Note:  shaving cream is very slippery!
Alex slipped and slid like a wet fish and kept shouting whoaaaaaa!  :)

I am terrible about saying things like
"Get down… as SOON as I take this picture!"

It was quite a mess but it cleaned up easily and it had us all in fits
of uncontrollable laughter.
And don’t rainy days just need a little uncontrollable laughter?
:)

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5 Foot Long Banana Splits!

I just had to share this idea that Rebecca posted in the comments today because I think it’s so delightful!  She wrote…

We already had a little party with family, and we made a five-foot long banana split using a (clean) plastic gutter for a dish! It was a blast!

What fun!  I hope your fairy party is fabulous, Rebecca.  I’m sure it will be!

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