Monthly Archives: July 2009

Quotes from a Boy of Six


 
I love the things that come out of Jack’s mouth sometimes!  Here is a sampling of things he has said (out of the blue!) over the last couple of days….

"Good news, Mom, I think I’m all over my case of Mad Man’s Disease.  Wanna know what Mad Man’s Disease is?  That’s when I get really mad and I act mean.  But it seems to be all over!"

"You know what I love most about you, Mom?  The way you help me.  Like if I fall down, you reach out your hand and help me up.  You’re always helping me, Mom."

"Hey Mom, how about if every time I say something stupid I hit myself in the head?"

The last one in particular really cracks me up!  I told him no, for the record!  :)

Happy Friday!
~Alicia

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Perspective

Here’s a sweet little poem that I’ve always liked.  Someday maybe I’ll print it on some watercolor paper and make it into some sort of art for the wall.  It puts me back in a better mood on some of those days!

Send the Children to Bed With a Kiss
(author unknown)

Oh, mothers, so weary, discouraged,
Worn out with the cares of the day,
You often grow cross and impatient,
Complain of the noise and the play.
For the day brings many vexations,
So many things go amiss.
But, mothers, whatever may vex you,
Send the children to bed with a kiss.

The dear little feet often wander,
Perhaps from the pathways of right.
The dear little hands find new mischief
To try you from morning ’til night.
But think of the desolate mothers
Who’d give all the world for your bliss.
And as thanks for your infinite blessings,
Send the children to bed with a kiss.

For someday their noise will not vex you.
The silence will hurt you far more.
You will long for the sweet childish voices,
For a sweet childish face at the door.
And to press a child’s face to your bosom,
You’d give all the world just for this.
For the comfort t’will give you in sorrow,
Send the children to bed with a kiss.

Happy Thursday!
~Alicia


 

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What to do with Those Beach Treasures!

I love this idea from Kids’ Nature Spot!  Not only is it simple and kid-friendly, but she uses homemade flour dough so it’s inexpensive and you don’t need any special materials.  This would be a great way to keep pretty rocks the kids collect, too!
 
 
If your kids are as crazy about color as mine, you could also tint the water with some food coloring before mixing the dough to make colored dough.  I know we grownups tend to like the natural look but most kids I know think the more color the better!

Happy Wednesday!
~Alicia

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Magical Moments– the Annotated Version

Lest things seem too perfect here, I offer up some behind the scenes not-so-magical moments from yesterday’s entry!

1.  Make mud art…

I’ve saved these plates from an estate auction (the stack was a dollar!) to use for something whimsical for years.  Shortly after taking these pictures, Alex threw a trowel at the stack that was left and broke them all.  

Also, Jack destroyed Anna’s mud art and made her cry.  I needed to come back out and mediate after I went inside and get everybody on the right track again!


 

2.  Put bubbles in the kiddie pool! 

We had our one year-old neighbor over the next day and Jack and Anna were both so wild I had to quietly take them each aside several times and remind them to dial it down a little — which didn’t work.  Jack splashed and flung bubbles so wildly that he soaked the neighbor (the one year-old’s dad!) a bit and I finally got frustrated and sent him inside.
 


 

3.  Make a density column

Okay, this was cool but there were still squabbles over who got to pour which layer and fussing about so-and-so jostling the table!  You can see that the colors mixed in places from it getting bumped too often.
 


 
4.  Go see a pageant (a historic play) or other outdoor show.

Jack talked the ear off the smiling lady next to him and accidentally dumped an entire bottle of water on his shirt and pants when he somehow missed his mouth!   Alex happily (and unhappily) shrieked at inappropriate moments throughout the show!  He especially loves to hoot to the horses.  Grandpa and Grandma were not fond of Alex hooting at horses.
 


 
5.  Better yet, sign up to be part of one!

The girls had plenty of moments when they had to be reminded why they signed up for all that work.  They are sad that it’s over and absolutely love being part of the pageant every year (this was their 5th season!) but see plenty of posts of mine from the past 2 months about what nights have been like while Daddy and the girls are gone until nearly midnight some nights with rehearsals and performances.  The boys and I sometimes had to be very creative to make it to bedtime!  :)
 


 

6.  Look for shooting stars. 

In this picture, Victoria has just gotten over sobbing because Annalee has accidentally elbowed her hard in the eye!
 


 
7.  Play in the sprinkler! 

Victoria was annoyed at Anna for not playing frisbee well, Jack thought the water was too cold and Alex was scared of the whole business.
 


 
8.  Find a good hill and roll down it!

Okay, to tell you truth I don’t think a single second of unhappiness happened during hill rolling.  I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until someone rolls onto a red ant hill or over a sibling, but it’s a pretty innocent way to pass the time!  :)
 


 

9.  Set up the tent in the back yard…

We got a little bit hot after a while and moved to the back yard, but it was windy and kept blowing the cards away!

 

10.  Break out the legumes! 

Other than the kids squabbling over who got to use the pan of beans, this one was pretty foolproof too.  You have to prepare to sweep up spilled beans, but it’s a small price to pay in my book!  Besides, I always tell the kids that spills are the only way my floor gets regularly swept and mopped!  :)  It’s good for us!
 


 
You can also note the mostly naked toddler, the badminton net made out of an old hammock (plus a bamboo stake and a tent pole), the unbrushed hair, the stained tablecloth and other imperfections that crept in despite careful photographing!  :)

I still count every one of those as magical moments though.  I tell my kids to hold on to the good parts of the day and dump the rest.  When we’re in those maddening moments, it can be pretty crazy-making.  At the end of the day, I try to let the noises and messes and fights fall away and remember the good.

It’s imperfect as all get-out, but it’s still magical.  :)

~Alicia

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In Pictures: 10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Here’s 10 fun and easy ways we’ve made the day magical around here lately….

1.  Make mud art!  Find a good place to dig in the dirt and provide some water, spoons, platters and pretties to decorate with (we used dried flower petals, dried beans and pasta, and beads).  Let the kids mix up mud andmake whatever designs they like and leave them to dry.  Take pictures and then just rinse and reuse the special stuff later.


 

2.  Put bubbles in the kiddie pool!  Just add a generous squirt of bubble bath or good quality dish soap and then spray fresh water into the pool.  We used Dawn dish soap and had bubbles for over an hour!  (Hint– look for the smallest kiddie pool you can find to use as a sensory pool outside for all-season fun.  Fill it with different things each week — fall leaves, packing peanuts, flour and small toys and scoops, dried corn, etc. and let the kids scoop, sift, search and sit in it.  Clean up is a breeze since it’s outside and the small size means it’s cheap to fill — and cheap to buy!)
 


 

3.  Make a density column.  This is not just pretty and cool, but also educational.  We used corn syrup, dish soap, vegetable oil, tinted water and tinted rubbing alcohol.  It actually was prettier than our picture shows! The kids loved this project and they wanted to know what would happen if we froze it so we extended the lesson.  That was pretty cool too!
 

 
4.  Go see a pageant (a historic play) or other outdoor show.

 
5.  Better yet, sign up to be part of one!
 


 

6.  Look for shooting stars.  This time of the year the sky is filled with them.  We saw two while the girls and I were celebrating their last performance of the season.
 

 
7.  Play in the sprinkler!  Add props– frisbees, balls, slides, jump ropes, etc. and join the kids too!
 

 
8.  Find a good hill and roll down it!
 


 

9.  Set up the tent in the back yard, spread out a fun blanket and invite the kids to play inside.  We all played cards and it was doubly magical with the way the sun and the tent walls seemed to make everything glow!


(hint: when playing cards with toddlers around, save all the ad cards and instruction cards to deal them a "hand" so they can think they’re playing too!)
 

10.  Break out the legumes!  For a simple sensory way to entertain little ones, give them a couple of measuring cups full of dried beans, peas, corn, pasta, whatever.  Let them pour them into a shallow pan (try for a mixture of textures and colors) and then stir with spoons, scoop with measuring cups, etc.  Make it deeper and you can hide small trinkets inside, or let them drive cars or boats through, you name it.  Alex happily played with this one all week and then we used it for the mud craft above later.  You can further use the beans and pasta to make glue mosaics on cardstock (the back of food boxes works well for sturdy canvases).  My big kids were irresistibly drawn to the bean pan all week too!  It’s very soothing and fun!

 
Did you do something magical this week?  Share your ideas or links in the comments and I’ll post them here.

Have a magical week!
~Alicia
 

 

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Kid Perspective: Ten Ways to Make Today Magical

When Victoria and Anna were 4 and 2, I asked them for help writing a list of ten ways to make the day magical for one of my newsletters.  These are the answers they gave me way back then, and it’s a good reminder that it doesn’t take make on our part to make it special for little ones!  :)

Here’s their list…

10 Ways to Make Today Magical….. Kid Style
These are all courtesy of Victoria (age 4) and Annalee (age 2):

1.  Be nice to everyone all day.
2.  Take a piece of paper and draw a star and then paint the star and then cut it out and then blot a clear star on top!
3.  Do a craft and glue!
4.  Set up a picnic and draw and color outside.
5.  Set up our tent!
6.  Magic tricks!
7.  Go outside and play on the swing set.
8.  Play ball with Miles (a friend).
9.  Turn off all the lights in the house and then find a flashlight that works and pretend it’s night.
10. Slide.

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It’s the wee hours and we just got back from a long road trip, so I’m off now to get a little one back to sleep and get some beauty sleep myself!  Have a magical week!

~Alicia

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Take a Hike!

Magical Mama Kit has written a fantastic article on her blog listing 10 tips to make hiking a great experience with kids.  It’s all great advice and the pictures are gorgeous.  I was already hoping to take the kids hiking at the local state park this week and now I am doubly inspired!  :)


(photo by Kit’s sweetie, Billy)
 

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Pondering Perfection

I am always torn when I see blog entries like this one.

On the one hand, they look so lovely and fun and I think they’re full of creativity andgreat ideas.  I want to pass them on as whimsical inspiration.

On the other, they always seem so perfect and elaborate!  I am just not the sort of mama to have these beautiful handmade toys to spread out on the gorgeous blanket topped with the lovely fresh-from-the-garden lunch with organic edible flowers in the ice water and then take the time to make the handmade, catalog-ready newspaper bunting to go across it. 

Then I think I’m a slacker for having our thrown-together mayhem that will never look like something to showcase on One Pretty Thing

Then I wonder how much the kids really appreciate it and how much is Mom going to hours of work to keep the illusion of a perfect life for her blog community.  (In this case, Mom assured us that her kids were in "loving and wonderful moods" with each other all afternoon.  So much for that!)

I worry sometimes that I come across as too perfect from that side of the monitor.  Those who know me would laugh hysterically at this point, incidentally!  I try to be sure to mention the good days with the bad, include a bit of the messy imperfections in the photos, and work in various trials and tribulations of daily life around here.  My goal here isn’t to airbrush out the bad moments or create an idealized image of parenthood but to offer a little humor, support, encouragement, fun, and occasional inspirational sap for anybody who’d like to come hang out here. 

So when I find these pages (and the net seems bursting with them), should I pass them on?

Do other mothers see this and go do it in their backyards, or do they also think "That looks darling but ours would never look that good and the baby would tear it down and the kids would still fight and leave it after 15 minutes and then I’d just resent the whole lot of them."?  :)

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for making blanket forts in the back yard and having picnics.  It’s just that mine would be sheets strung on the clotheslines and it would take 5 minutes to construct.  And then maybe I’d chase the kids like an idiot around the back yard and sneak off for a while to check email.

I am always torn.  Inspirational or depressing?   What do you think?

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Animal Splicing!

Here’s a totally silly way to occupy small children online!  The Animal Splicer 1.0 allows you to cross cartoon animals in its magical machine to make brand new creatures.  Alex is crazy about the Manke (monkey snake) but I personally love the Octobunny.   The Frobster is adorable too, while the Wartopus is just plain odd.  Next time you have a bored or cranky little person (or a bored or cranky big person!), give it a try!

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Quote for the Day

 
"A three-year-old child is a being who gets almost as much fun out of a fifty-six dollar set of swings as it does out of finding a small green worm."

– Bill Vaughn

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