Happy Grief Bacon Day!

We’re having a different sort of holiday today.  We’re celebrating our first annual Kummerspeck (or “Grief Bacon“) Day.

The idea came to me a few days ago.  We’ve all been really fighting the blues in our family.  Winter has been long, cold, snowy and oppressive this year.  The kids have been cooped up and cranky.  I’ve been cooped up and cranky.  We’re all irritable and there’s still more waiting before things are really going to be green and warm.

Victoria had told me about a German word that literally translates to “grief bacon” that describes the weight gained from emotional eating, such as after a loved one dies or during a period of depression.   It was featured in Mental Floss’s  15 Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent.

We’ve talked about that natural instinct to hole up in the house with food as comfort and how it’s definitely not healthy as a general practice but how it really does seem to help when things are really feeling miserable, like after the death of pets and loved ones.

So yesterday I suggested to Daryl that we toss out my typical health-crazed ways and proclaim today a Grief Bacon Day (vegetarian members of our family can call it Grief Popsicle Day).  :)  He was on board, so we told the kids we were going to all go to the grocery store together and load up on comfort foods that we’d all pick out together and spend the whole day together as a family watching movies, eating junk food and just indulging ourselves in a way we usually don’t.

We spent the morning cleaning together to prepare (who wants to party in a messy house?) and then spread the table with the first round of indulgences.  Jack had picked out frozen fruit so he made us dixie cup fruit sorbets to balance out the chips, dip and other junky items that others picked.  Gluten free pizza, french fries, banana popsicles, 7-up and other goodies followed. 

There’s lots more to come, including more foods and fun non-food items like puzzles and bubbles, marshmallow and toothpicks for building, more movies and crafts. 

Some days you just have to loosen your own rules and look at the big picture.  A full-out, junky family day was just what the doctor ordered.  The mood in our house has done a 180 (and the house looks better too!).

And now, I’m off to watch some more explosions and add to my stomach ache. 

Happy Kummerspeck  Day!

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10 Ways We’ve Made the Day Magical Lately

Happy Monday!  I’m just popping in for a quick post this time.  I’m fighting the blues and swamped with things I should be doing, and I thought it might be good to focus on the magical moments around here lately.  These are only ones that I happen to capture on my iPod, which really made me realize I need to start taking more pictures again!

I highly recommend making your own little list up, either on your own blog of for your own records.  It’s a nice way to remind ourselves of the happy stuff.  :)

10 random ways we’ve made a little magic here lately….

1.  Went to the children’s museum.  Multiple times!  I love our annual membership, especially when it’s particularly cold, dreary or boring out.  :)

2.  Helped out at a maple syrup tapping event.  Our family takes part in maple syrup tapping at a local nature camp every year and it’s so much fun (and so tasty — there’s a fabulous all-you-can-eat breakfast feast with real maple syrup from their trees).  My hubby ran the sales table this year and during quiet times he played the dulcimer and taught some other folks to play, and even did an impromptu jam session with some other musicians he struck up a conversation with.  The kids got to play with old friends and we left with full bellies and good memories.

3.  Hugged some trees.  You know we love yarn bombing and it was fun to find these yarn bombed trees.  It’s our goal to do some yarn bombing in our own back yard at some point.

4.  Harvested some walnuts.  You can’t live near Walnut Grove and not gather walnuts, right?  We do a lot of foraging for wild edibles in season, and the kids helped gather tons of walnuts last fall that are now dry enough to start cracking and cooking with.  Alex is particularly fond of helping since it involves hitting things with a hammer.  ;)  He also loves to gather the walnuts all autumn, and personally collects bags and bags to bring to Daddy.  Here’s the instructions for harvesting the dried walnuts, courtesy of my hubby, if you ever want to give it a try.

5.  Did blow painting.  Just make up some liquid watercolors (here’s the recipe we use to make wet or dry watercolors) or mix some food coloring with a bit of water, put it in dropper bottles or tiny dishes with eyedroppers, drop it on paper (watercolor paper and other heavy papers work best) and let the kids blow it around with straws.  Be sure to wear craft clothes and protect surfaces, since it can get a little messy.

6.  Visited an art museum with friends.  Since our friends had connections, we even got a private tour!  This particular museum has free admission for all teenagers, courtesy of a grant, and is free after 5 p.m.  Many museums offer similar deals if they’re not free all the time.

7.  Made recycled treasures.  Check out the awesome knight’s garb that Jack made for Alex!  It comes complete with armor, shield, sword and helmet.  :)

8.  Went to the zoo.  Even my big kids love a day at the zoo!

A red panda being trained, photo courtesy Toria Bayer

Lovely tiger, photo courtesy Anna Bayer

9.  Went snow-shoeing.  Daryl took Toria and Alex to a park event in a nearby town to take part in a naturalist program where they got to snowshoe through a state park.  They loved it, but I’m hoping not to get a chance to snowshoe again for a long, long time!  We got more snow today but it’s melting and I’m really hoping for nothing but mud and grass for a while.  :)

10.  Tickled and wrestled and played.  And a whole lot of silliness and fun.  (Sorry the pictures are such terrible quality!  They are bad photos but good memories.)  :)

And with that, I’m off to make some more fun with my kiddos and drag myself out of the blues.  I have to say, that helped a bit!

Focus on what you want more of, chickies.  :)

I’ll be back soon, even to post something boring!  It’s my new goal! 

Happy Monday!

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day, too, for that matter.  Happy everything!

Here’s a few ways to make a little magic today or sometime this week with your kiddos……….

1.  Do some rainy day art with food coloring and cardstock.  If you can’t get some rain, let the kids fake it with a squirt bottle or puddle splashing nearby.  Little Page Turners has the instructions and tips.

2.  Do some spring nature studies.  Call some worms underground, start garden plants from kitchen scraps, test your soil’s pH with vinegar or otherwise work a little science into the season.  Here are links to those and other fun spring nature study activities.

3.  Create a family mural.  I am in love with this idea and this art from the amazing Kirsten Rickert.  Visit her blog for the full post and instructions (and lots more wonderful inspiration!).

4.  Wait for a wonderfully windy day and blow bubbles like crazy.  Here’s a picture of us from a few years ago.  It’s also fun to do this on a grassy expanse by evening traffic.  We’ve always delighted at the expressions on passing motorists stuck in traffic when deluged with bubbles being blown by happy children.  :)

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

5.  Do freeze dancing to Irish music (or any fun music).  You can do this in honor of St. Patrick’s Day today or you can use any theme you like.  Put on a CD (or find some good songs on you-tube) and have the kids all dance wildy.  Every time you hit pause, they have to freeze in place.

6.  Paint some walking sticks.  Head into nature and find some big, suitable sticks, bring them home and make them beautiful.  They can jazz up the yard in between nature hikes.

7.  Sit together and do gratitude mandelas.  This lovely one is via Pinterest but I couldn’t find the original artist.  If you know, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

8.  Make grapevine wreaths and crowns.  Here are the simple instructions, courtesy of myself and Victoria a few years back.

9.  Go for a walk in the rain.  Mist counts.  After the rain counts.  Just wearing a fun raincoat on an overcast day counts.  :)

10.  Only clean the green things today.  Go through the house together and put away anything green, scrub anything green and otherwise just give a little love to all things green.  If you like, do red tomorrow, black the next day and so on.

And for a little Muppet fun this St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a version of Danny Boy that always makes me grin.

And with that, I’m off to the wilds of South Dakota with any number of small and large children for the day.

Have a magical week!

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

I hope all is wonderful in your little corner of the world.  We’ve been busy despite the cold winter here.  I’ve found that with five kids now, there really isn’t such a thing as down time! 

I do like winter more and more these days for its forced slowing-down of life, though.  This is the time of year we read the most library books, play the most games at the dining room table, watch the most movies and follow the most rabbit trails to find new hobbies, skills and passions.

That’s not to say I won’t be thrilled when spring comes!  My seed catalogs have me especially impatient for the return of green, and I can’t wait to be able to once again spend the whole day outside with the kids.  But in the meantime, we might as well have fun with what we’ve got!

Here’s a few ways to make a little magic with your kiddos this week, no matter what the weather is in your little corner of the world.

1.  Give your child a Valentine straw rocket!  E for Explore has the free printable and directions.

2.  Do a wacky photo shoot of your child.

3.  Start a pride jar.  Every time you’re proud of your child, write the reason on a slip of paper and put it in a pretty jar. Encourage the kids to peek in their jars!

4.  Gather some fruits and veggies and make some edible art.  I have lots of inspiration on my Cooking With Kids board on Pinterest.

10 Ways to Make Today Magical5.  Try circus tricks together.  See if you can juggle, balance a ball on your nose, walk a “tightrope” on the floor, clown around and so on.

6.  Paint some snowballs.

7.  Make an edible gingerbread house for the birds and squirrels.  Get together some graham crackers, nutbutter and a variety of bird seeds, fresh or dried fruits, and nuts.  Help the kids assemble like a regular house with peanut butter as the “glue” and decorate with the seeds, fruits and nuts.  Take a picture of your masterpiece and then leave it where it’s visible from inside so you can watch to see who visits.

8.  Cut out dozens of construction paper hearts and write a reason you love each other on each one.  Cover the windows or a door with them all, or hang them from the ceiling on lengths of yarn or ribbon.

9.  Do some Pinterest-inspired arts and crafts.  Find a fun project, tutorial or bit of inspiration and sit down together to give it a try.

10. Play the gratitude game at dinner.  Go through the alphabet taking turns naming one thing you’re grateful for in life for each letter.  Anything counts, from artichokes to Aunt Julie.  :)

And with that, I’m off again.  I’ll try to pop in more often this week. 

Kiss your kiddos, count your blessings and don’t forget to take care of you. 

Have a magical week! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I am (uplifting them)

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Here’s a wonderful project that I am so happy to see!

I am (uplifting them) is a new social media project that proposes to use social media to uplift our kids instead of to shame them.

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Page creator Stephanie says:

I am saddened by the amount of kid-shaming photos and stories I see all over the internet. My proposal is that we flood the world wide web with kid-positivity and uplifting stories and photos. So, grab a kid (preferably your own; if not get permission) and ask them to finish the sentence, ‘I am…’ Write down what they say (I guarantee it’ll be positive) snap a picture of them holding it and post it everywhere! Post them here as well and let’s see how many uplifting, positive things we can learn about our children!

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Want to take part?  You can join in on Facebook or Twitter and invite your own kids to celebrate how fabulous they really are.  :)

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I’m off to see what my kids want to put on their signs!

 

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!  I hope you’re staying warm in your little corner of the world.  They’ve closed the schools because of the cold here in Minnesota.  It is staggeringly cold!  With wind chills, they say it could get as low as -79.  That’s crazy business!

It’s a good day to stay inside and make some happy memories with the kids!  Or… if it’s lovely and warm where you are, it’s a nice day to go outside and make some happy memories with them — and enjoy it for me.  :)

Here’s a few ways to make a little magic this week…

  1. Start a paper chain of happy memories and accomplishments from 2014.
  2. If you have snow outside, bring some inside in some big tubs and let the kids play with it at the kitchen table.     
  3. If you’re lucky enough not to live in one of the freezing cold places right now, you can still have lots of fun with snow and ice!  Here’s a list of ten ways to make the day magical, warmer style for warmer climates.
  4. Sneak outside and do a bit of this. 
  5. If you can brave the cold, make some snowball art.  Aren’t these wonderful?  They’re done by textile artist Ceca Georgieva, who has lots of other wonderful stuff on her site too.     
  6. Make a list of 100 things you want to do together by the end of winter.  Here’s one of our old winter bucket lists.
  7. Yarn bomb something!  You can even yarn bomb inside objects like chairs and bedposts.  Here’s oodles of wonderful inspiration on Pinterest and here’s stuff I’ve compiled about yarn bombing in the past.

    Lovely yarnbombed tree via Pinterest. Original author unknown.

  8. Get glow in the dark paint and help the kids write secret messages and pictures on their ceilings.  The paint will be invisible during the day.  Paint onto poster board and tape it up if you don’t want to paint directly onto the ceiling.
  9. Make maple syrup snow candy! Here’s a bunch of recipes and instructions. You can use crushed ice if you don’t have snow.

  10. Find a few minutes to do something really nice for yourself.  Buy yourself a couple of truffles at the check-out and go enjoy them in a cozy spot.  Take a relaxing bath with a magazine.  Call a friend who makes you feel fabulous.  You get the idea!  Extra credit if you come back and tell me what you did!

And with that, chickadees, I have to go run the tap again so the pipes don’t freeze again!  And perhaps grab a child to give noisy kisses to, too.

Have a magical day!

 

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Weather Trees!

Weather Tree by Betsy Wetsy on Flickr

I’m in love with weather trees. 

I’ve admired them over the years and always wanted to start one with the kids.

Weathertree.com offers this one for sale from the UK each year…

And they also offer one that focuses on goals (weight loss, exercise completed, eggs laid by chickens and small business profits are some examples!) instead of weather…

And this gorgeous one is available on etsy.

I’ve had several pinned on Pinterest for a while now to inspire me to make my own.

Now with the new year and this free printable weather tree from se7en, we’re all set to go!

Some people just color them with one or two colors for sunny or cloudy, while some color-code the leaves for hot, windy, rainy and so on.  On some calendars, you can see people colored the leaves several colors to show changing weather or various elements of the day’s weather.

We’re going to do the weather (cloudy, rainy, snowy, sunny, etc.) for the main part of the leaf and outline the leaf to show temperature (hot, cold or mild).  Of course, here in Minnesota I think anything above zero counts as mild these days.  :)

Ours is printed and we’re filling in the first leaf tonight.

Happy 2014!

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