Monthly Archives: December 2010

Goals 2011

I am not much of a resolution kind of person, but I do love a good list of goals.  Here’s my things to keep on working on for the new year…

  1. Laugh more.
  2. Smile more.
  3. Make lots of green smoothies.
  4. Read aloud every day.
  5. Hug my sweeties (big and little).
  6. Say yes to scary (good) opportunities.
  7. Spend more time in the sun with the kids, even when it’s 5 degrees out.
  8. Explore new places.
  9. Pretend to be good at housework.
  10. …?

I’m not sure what number 10 will be.  There’s a whole lot of year to fill it in with the perfect goal!

What’s on your list?  Make it fun!

Happy New Year!

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Is It Spring Yet?

I’m not sure why winter is getting to me

so much this year.

Maybe because we’ve had

SO MUCH SNOW

or maybe it’s just an odd year.

It’s been bitterly cold here –

too cold to even venture out most days–

so today I seized the tropical temperatures

of 30 degrees

and hauled the kids outside

like it or not.

Alex is not always a fan of time outside

And the others were not wild about the idea either

but soon snowballs were flying

and forts were being build like mad.

And then everybody was having fun

and I was the one wishing we could

just go inside already.

And okay, I guess I can see a little fun

in all this cold and white.

After all, what fun would spring be

if it was easy to come by?

Enjoy the weather

no matter what type you’re blessed with this week.

But if you happen to live someplace warm and sunny

please enjoy it a little extra for me!

Happy Thursday!

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Our Ornament Update

We’ve received more ornaments from families since I last reported.  Our tree is now filled with so much new sentimentality, whimsy and so many stories, thanks to you all!

With every package that arrived, we all gathered and opened the ornaments together and read the stories or notes inside.  One family even sent a bird for the tree (a fabulous, well loved one!), which was perfect because it was our tradition to have our “Christmas budgie” who was lost with all of the rest of ours.  We loved reading the stories and seeing what people sent!

There have been handmade, child-made, brand new and well loved, from as far away as Australia.  Two mothers sent ornaments from their own grandmothers.  We adore them all and I can’t stop smiling when I see our tree now!

Thank you to Kim, Claire, Jessie, Melissa, Eva, Jennifer, Lonni and families!

Here’s an updated collage of the most recent additions…

I’ve decided that from now on I collect ornaments.  :)  I plan to get some when we travel and for new memories.  We also plan to leave the tree up for a while still, and keep making new ornaments and decorating it with any more that come in.

I can’t thank you enough for helping to turn out loss into such a happy new collection!

I’ll post an update of the final totals and donate in honor of Zev soon.

Happy Monday!

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical (New Year’s Edition)

One of the fabulous things about having yapped at you all for so many years is that I have lots of old ramblings to snatch when I have my hands full.  Below is an example, written in the Magical Childhood newsletter seven years ago (!) that I am swiping now to go cuddle a small boy back to bed.  I am suddenly feeling old.  ;)

10 Ways to Make the New Year Magical…..

1.  Get out the wine glasses (plastic if you like) for New Year’s supper and serve sparkling juice.  Go around the table making wishes for the new year for each other.

2.  Together, make up some fortunes (both serious and silly, but all good) and write them on slips of paper.  Roll the paper up into tubes and tie with ribbon, then place in a bowl.  Take turns drawing fortunes and read them aloud.

3.  Take out the calendar for next year and randomly fill in dates with fun things to do.  They don’t have to be big things.  Make an appointment to eat supper in the back yard in June, to go to a matinee with your toddler in October, to all wear blue on February 9th…

4.  For each family member, take a sheet of paper and record the highlights of the past year.  Make a list of accomplishments, challenges, milestones, bad & good events, best friends, favorite activities, etc.  Take the time to make it beautiful and either slip it into a scrapbook or photo album.  Invite the kids to help decorate the pages.  Don’t forget to do one for you, too!

5.  Make a goal collage for next year.  Grab some old magazines and have everybody cut out words, pictures and images that represent good stuff for the new year.  Either fill a scrapbook page for each person or start a family altered book from an old textbook and have each person make her/his own page.

6.  Make a symbolic fresh start.  For each family member, clean a small area somewhere on New Year’s Eve.  Each person should help clear & organize her/his own space.  Whether it’s cleaning off mom’s desk, organizing a toddler’s book shelf or making a teen’s vanity table beautiful again, start the new year with a peaceful, tidy spot to focus on.

7.  Make breakfast wish roll-ups.  On New Year’s morning, spread crepes or warmed flour tortillas with spreadable cream cheese.  Fill a plastic baggie with blueberry (or other berry) syrup and snip just the tip of the bag.  Help pipe symbolic one word wishes over the cream cheese (friends, $, A+, love…) and then roll up.  Serve with extra syrup for dipping and eat your words!

8. Invite each family member to make a list of goals for the new year.  These don’t have to be resolutions but merely things each person wants to accomplish.  Some can be simple, some hard, some humorous… anything goes.  Save the sheets in a safe place for next year and then take a look at what everybody has accomplished (and what doesn’t seem to matter anymore) a year later.

9.  Take the piles of art you’ve saved from this year and all of those old math papers, activity sheets and history quizzes.  Ask the children to put aside the special stuff and cull a nice pile of them to make streamers by running them through the paper shredder.  At midnight (or an earlier hour for little ones), do the countdown and toss it all in the air.

As long as there are no strange papers in there, the whole mess can be cleaned up and used as mulch on the garden, meaning that the art and history will help flowers grow in the new year.  No garden?  Mulch some house plants.  :)

10. Write a letter to your child, summing up the past year and expressing all your love and pride.  Date it & leave it on the pillow New Year’s Eve.  (For younger kids, read it to them before bed and put it someplace safe for later.)

I wish you and your families all the best for the new year.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the mayhem and the clutter and the lists of what we ought to be doing.  Don’t forget what the biggest things on your to-do lists should be– having fun, loving the heck out of your children & relishing life.

Slow down.  Give things up.  Laugh it off.  Make each day count, with at least one thing that is magical or truly matters.  And give yourself a break!

And when life gets crazy this year, take the advice of those wisest of people (aerobics instructors) and don’t forget to breathe.  ;)

Happy New Year!!
Alicia   (December 29, 2003)

Talk to you tomorrow!
Alicia   (nearly 2011!)


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Merry Christmas!

And a Happy Thursday and Friday!  ;)

We started our family holidays on Tuesday and have been having a magical week.  We celebrate over a few days here in order to spend time with extended family and still have our own time together.  We have our family celebration, supper and presents on the winter solstice, then Christmas Eve with Great Grandma Lueck and many relatives, and Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa.  More snow is coming so that may derail some plans, but we’ll figure it all out!

I want to wish you all the happiest of holidays.  Thank you for keeping me company on this magical adventure, and thank you for being the delightful parents you are.

Lastly, thank you to Samantha, Sarah and Kaitryna for the wonderful ornaments!  I love the stories that have come with some of them and every one is so treasured already.

We’ve also been busy making ornaments, mostly with things from the recycling bin.  The kids have had fun and we have a very eclectic Christmas tree.  :)

Here’s the delightful ornaments we’ve received (and some of ours )…


I also solved the mystery of my missing ornaments.  They are indeed gone for good.  Last summer I tossed out lots of things that were ruined by water damage in our basement and I piled the trash bags in a large cardboard box.  Our giant old Christmas tree box was in the basement with our winter things in it (ornaments plus our winter snowsuits) and that entire box is missing.  I realize now that I accidentally piled the trash bags in our winter box along with the empty box, and hauled them both out to the dumpster.  I am sad to know that so many years of memories are missing, but I know that the important things in life are not things and I am so happy for the ornaments some of you have sent to start our new collection!  Thank you again!

Merry Christmas!


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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

Thank you to Sara and Yvonne, who sent us ornaments for our tree — one homemade link from a family paper chain and one twisted glass.  We were all thrilled to get them and absolutely treasure them.  They will do a wonderful job of making up for those we lost and they have really made us smile.  :)

Time for another list of ways to sneak a bit of magic into the days this week…

1.  Make some 10 Scents of Christmas sensory cards and some match-up cards to go with them.

2.  Have some fun with a turkey baster. This is proof that children can use just about anything to make the day magical if you get involved. Jack discovered that the turkey baster we keep as a bath toy makes an excellent rocket launcher for a makeup brush today.  He happily shot it as high as he could, at targets and in various ways while I cheered him on.  Get two and have contests.  Sit on the floor and launch things and laugh.

3.  Eat dinner with everybody talking with funny accents.

4.  No snow where you live?  Sprinkle the carpet with baking soda and show the kids how to make snow angels.  Afterwards, vacuum it up!

5. Make some ice lanterns.


6.  Get out the dominoes and make domino runs.  The longer and more complicated the better!

7. Make a paper chain of happy memories and accomplishments from the past year.

8.  Make a snowball target!  I love this idea from Nurture Store: Draw a chalk target on an outside wall, line up some snowballs and shoot to score. Award different points for hitting different areas and keep tally with a score chart. Lots of adding up practice.

9. Leave your children notes under their pillows listing 20, 30 or 50 things you love about them.

10. Go around neighborhoods and look at the holiday lights.  Want to make it extra special?  Freeze one ice wreath for each member of the family (put water in a bundt cake pan and add berries, sprigs of pine and/or food coloring and colored ice cubes and freeze, run under warm water to unmold).  Pop them into a freezer with notes tied around them thanking folks for making the world more magical.  Let each family member leave a wreath on the lawn of their favorite decorated house.

And with that, chickadees, I’m off again.

Thanks for being magical.  :)


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Soapy Fun!

Magical Mama April recommended this post from the ever-fabulous Mind Games blog this morning.  How many ways can you possibly find to have fun with bars of soap????  :)


I see some clean messes in our future…


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A Little Picture and Poem by Victoria

Presents have boxes
Presents have bows
You won’t get a present
If you bite my toes

 

Happy Thursday!


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Snow Day!

We got a wee bit of snow around these parts recently.

I used the opportunity to have a bit of snow fun at the dining room table.

I had my faithful assistant, Victoria, go get bowls full of fresh snow and fill an under-the-bed storage container with it.

Then I put it on the table with an assortment of little cars and a bulldozer for Alex to do a version of Lonni’s shaving cream snow plow idea from the silly assignment day.


He plowed for a while but his hands got too cold, so we moved on.

First I packed down the snow and gave him a big paintbrush, a jar of water (right in the tub, so spills wouldn’t matter) and some watercolor paints.  He painted the snow for a bit, but it was a bit tricky.  So we moved on.

I put out a muffin tin of water and added primary colors to three of them, and then we made all different colors in the cups.  I gave Jack, Victoria and Alex all pipettes (like tiny medicine droppers, I get them in bulk from a science surplus store for science and art fun!) and they squeezed colors to their hearts’ contents.


It was a colorful, artistic, crazy bunch of fun.


Even I got into the act!


I  highly recommend it next time you have a bit of the white stuff to deal with.  If you don’t have any snow, try mixing up anything white in a similar container and dropping colored water on it.  Dry rice, pale sand, shaving cream… Lots of things would be fun to experiment with!

In my book, any activity that involves pipettes and colored water is a good idea.  :)


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Help Decorate Our Tree and We’ll Help Kids in Need

I have an odd request to make! 

I would like you to send us an ornament!

Want to know why?

Well, we finally got our tree up this past weekend and to my surprise, almost all of our ornaments were missing.

The glass balls that Daryl and I hand decorated our first Christmas together.

The cloth elves whose knees tuck behind their clasped hands from my childhood.

The zillions of altered ornaments that the kids made even prettier with paint pens and too much glitter over the years.

The engraved ones that were presents for the kids.

The miscellaneous oddballs.

The framed tiny photos of the children as babies.

They’re just gone. All but one little bag of assorted ones that were apparently packed up last.

I’ve cleaned and organized our basement (which is no small task, I should tell you).  I’ve cleaned and organized our storage closet (ditto).  I’ve searched high and low.  I can’t explain it, but all of our boxes of ornaments are just missing.

So we have a rather sparse tree. We put up the few little oddballs that were in that small bag, but it’s a bit pitiful!

To add insult to injury, the first couple of days, one of our cats decided to climb our forlorn tree and hide in the branches, bapping at the ornaments from within.


And it’s made all the more ridiculous by the fact that all of our lights were dead (I did find those!) except one strand, so we used lights my mother-in-law gave us.  Every single strand has a different color of lights — one white, one multi, one red, and one green!  And one has white wires too.

The cat and the lights make me giggle, actually.  I love oddness and it suits us.

But the ornaments?  Sigh.  That’s not really any fun at all.

I thought of hand making a billion with the children. We’re certainly pros at that.  And we will.

But they’ll all be one sort of another, and truth be told, I miss the sentimentality of the ornaments we had collected.  I wanted some variety and sentiment!

So I came up with an idea.

I’m going to ask YOU to send us an ornament!

It can be from your tree, made by your children, picked out at the dollar store, anything.  It can be a tempera painted bit of cardboard, a simple silver ball, anything. 

I truly don’t care in the least, because it will fill our tree with sentimentality, because it will come from you and your children. And that totally makes me smile.

But I can’t just ask you to mail me something without giving anything back. That would be wrong.  So I started to think of what I could do on my end and I came up with an idea.

For every family that sends an ornament, we’ll donate a dollar to the Princess Zev Foundation.

The Princess Zev Foundation is maintained by Magical Mama Caitlin, who I only know online but absolutely adore.  Few people on earth manage to convey goodness and light right through a computer the way Caitlin can. She is a follower of this blog and our Facebook page, and a friend of my fabulous friend Claire.  And she manages to be a bright spot in the universe despite the loss of her utterly magical daughter, Zev.

The Princess Zev Foundation exists to give books and toys to children in need (those who have experienced loss, those in poverty and orphans) and to schools in honor of Zev, her love of books and her giving spirit.

Incidentally The Princess Zev Foundation is also up for a donation through the Pepsi Refresh Project.  You can vote daily and help them win here.  They need your votes!

If you’d like to donate too, you can do so here.

So, if you’d like to send us an ornament for our tree, here’s the address:

Alicia Bayer
PO Box 304
Westbrook, MN 56183

Our whole family is thrilled with the idea of getting ornaments from you, because it may sound sappy but you’re special to all of us. Please tuck in a note about who you are or a drawing by your kids or anything else to let us know about you and your family. :)

I’ll post an update at the end of the year with some pictures of our decorated tree and a tally of our donations. If nobody sends an ornament (I understand!  It’s a busy season!), then we’ll still send a donation to the Princess Zev Foundation, and we’ll just get busy making some ornaments.

So will you help us out?  We’d love a bit of your family in our living room on our crazy (but still fabulous) tree.

I promise to keep it safe from the cat.

Happy Tuesday!


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