10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

Sorry for disappearing for so long again.  It’s a busy time of year for us here, with lots of hiking to enjoy the season and lots of “putting things up” from our gardens, from friends’ apple trees and from produce bought in bulk from local farm families.

October is such a magical month.  It isn’t hard to find lots and lots of ways to make the days magical.  Here’s a few options for the week.

1.  Get the kids’ shoes or bare feet muddy and help them “walk” across the ceiling to leave muddy footprints. 

2.  Dress up the dog in a different crazy costume each night this week and go walking with the kids.

3.  Do some fall nature crafts.  You can find a round-up of ten of my favorites here.

4.  Use a pumpkin for a Mr. Potato Head or use playdough to make fun faces.  Here’s a few dozen other fun things to do with pumpkins besides just carving them.  :)

10 Ways to Make Today Magical 10-28

5.  Dress the kids up in their Halloween costumes and visit a nursing home to deliver treats to the residents (call first and find one who’d welcome the treats and visitors).

6.  Here’s a delightful suggestion from Sakina on the Magical Childhood Facebook page:  here is my magical childhood moment earlier today… perhaps it’s already on your list somewhere??… let your child become the make up artist on yourself.  :)

sakima

I love it!  :)  Thanks Sakina!

7.  Do some Day of the Dead crafts and teach the kids the history of this historic festival that honors loved ones who have died.  Here’s some information about the day and here’s some fun crafts.

8.  Learn how to do The Cup Song with the kids.  Or, go old school and teach them how to do The Macarena or The Hand Jive

9.  Dress the kids up in old fashioned clothes and go visit a historic site like a train museum or a pioneer village.  Pretend you live in those old times and talk about what it would be like.

10. Try this lovely idea from Parents: 

You can brighten your yard with this temporary art project that highlights (but doesn’t harm) a favorite tree. First soak sidewalk chalk in water for a couple of hours to soften it, then go outside and choose a tree that’s looking a little drab — the smoother the bark, the better. Rub the chalk on the trunk to give it a coat of color. Smooth out the chalk and blend the hues with a large paintbrush and water.

Originally published in the March 2013 issue of FamilyFun

And with that, my dears, I’m off to play ball with a small boy, bake some gluten free bread and wrestle some piles of laundry into order.

Have a magical week!

 

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

I keep meaning to get back to posting daily or near-daily, but life is still so busy  here.  We are finishing up the season of “putting things up” — making applesauce and apple cider from extra apples on friends’ trees, grape jelly from Grandma’s backyard grapevines, salsa from flats of tomatoes from the farm family down the highway, and so on.  I love this season and I love that Daryl and I have taught ourselves these old fashioned skills and are teaching them to our kids, but it is a lot of work and I will also love the slower pace of winter once the apples, zucchinis, tomatoes, pumpkins and other goodies have all been dealt with.

We’ve also been busy with making the most of fall — lots of hiking and outings, nature studies and so on. 

Magical Childhood is always busy this time of year, when What Should a Four Year-Old Know? gets shared again and brings a new flurry of visitors.  Many of you know it was also shared in Huffington Post last month, and it was translated into another handful of languages.  Another neat thing is that a community magazine in North Dakota asked to reprint my article 10 Things to Do Instead of Yelling, which is one of my favorite articles from my parenting columns at examiner.com.  I’m trying to finish up the Magical Childhood book at last, too, but to be honest I am more than a little flaky about finishing it and I tend to go off and play when I should be working.  :)  Perhaps saying it here will help motivate me to get back to work!

And that’s enough yapping out of me. 

Here’s a few ways to make some memories with your kiddos this week…..

1.  Make some leaf art, like Color Me Katie She punched out little hearts from dead leaves and then created whimsical vines and such around her neighborhood with them.

2.  Wear fancy clothes all day, just because.  We’ve had a whole stash of thrift store costumes, capes and prom dresses for years to make an ordinary Monday seem more special.  :)

3.  Take your child out for coffee or dessert.  Head out someplace, just the two of you, to enjoy some lazy conversation over something tasty.  Take the time to really talk (and listen!).

4.  Bring the kiddie pool inside and fill it with fun nature items like dried leaves and seed pods.  Spread a sheet out underneath it to help with cleanup.  To make it even more fun, give your little one some markers to decorate the leaves and items.  Be sure to involve the kids in the clean up!

5.  Make pumpkin pie playdough.  We made this every fall for years and I need to make it up again soon (I’m going to try swapping corn flour for the flour for my gluten free little guy this time).  It smells heavenly and is so much fun to play with!  Note that this makes a lot (we have a lot of kids!), so feel free to use some math with the kids and make smaller batches.

Pumpkin Pie Playdough Recipe

  • 5-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups salt
  • 8 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 1 container (1-1/2 oz) of pumpkin pie spice  ( If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, just substitute cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, or whatever combination of them you have on hand!)
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • orange food coloring (2 parts yellow, 1 part red)
  • 4 cups water

Mix all ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until all lumps disappear. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth. Store in a plastic bag.

Note:  For extra sensory fun, you can also let the kids press in some clean roasted pumpkin seeds. 

6.  Start a recipe box or cookbook of family recipes you teach your child.  Bake and cook them together and write each one out as you teach it to add to the collection.  Don’t know very many?  Learn together!

7.  Make some fall projects like twig looms.

8.  Write a letter to your child all about who he is right now, what he loves and why you love him.  Tuck it into someplace safe for the future.  Be sure to show him or tell him all those things too!

9.  Stick a giant piece of clean contact paper to a window (sliding glass doors are also perfect) and gather up an assortment of seasonal pretties for your child to stick to it.  You can use fall leaves, squares of colorful tissue paper, shapes cut from construction paper, natural items like milkweed fluff, you name it. 

10.  Be outrageously silly at odd times, for no reason, all day long!  Suddenly widen your eyes and say, “Oh no! I forgot to give you noisy kisses!” and scoop up your toddler.  Stick your tongue out and grin at your teenager.  Be silly as much as you possibly can.

And with that, magical people, I’m off to do the oh-so-magical task of several loads of laundry.  Perhaps I’ll tickle some small people on my way….

Have a wonderful week.  Don’t forget to take care of you!

 

 

 

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Ten Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

I hope everything is fabulous in your little corner of the world.  I have a little girl on my lap as I type this so I’m going to try to be quick.

Here’s a few ways to make some memories with your favorite little (or big) people this week!

1.  Find a really old cookbook and make a meal fit for an old fashioned family.  Some of the intriguing recipes we’ve found include Porridge, Lone Ranger Sandwiches, Creamed Chicken in Potato Nests and Jumbo Prunes with Cream.  Some sound more tempting than others!

2.  Have a Project Runway challenge.  Let the kids pick out several yards of clearance fabric in glamorous, funky and fun patterns. Help them make their own scarves, doll clothes, dress up clothes, throw pillows or whatever they dream up. Iron on fusible tape instead of sewing seams, if you like (you do this part for younger kids, obviously), or teach them how to use a sewing machine. If you’re short on money you can let them use old clothes or sheets. 

3.  Set up a carnival in the back yard (or even in the basement or living room).  Make up your own games using whatever you have on hand — hula hoops, a kiddie pool, stuffed animals, cardboard boxes, you name it.  Invite some friends or neighbors to come join you if you like.

4.  Make painted soap clouds Microwave a half a bar of Ivory soap and then use liquid watercolors or watered down food coloring to make it beautiful colors.

5.  Have a silly word day.  Pick an ordinary word to be the silly word of the day, and anybody who accidentally says that word during the day has to do something silly.  For instance, if the silly word of the day is “car” and you forget and say it, you might cluck like a chicken or yodel. 

6.  Put birthday candles in dinner or dessert and let your little one blow them out again and again.

7.  Find a new-to-you park to explore together.

8.  Have the kids dress up and pose for old fashioned pictures.  You can use free editing software and apps to give them a proper old-time look!

9.  Or print out these fun printable disguises from Design House Digital and use them as props for a wacky photo shoot.  :)  Add fun hats, ties and other clothes to add to the look!

10. Have a balloon day.

balloon

And with that, I’m off to throw on some more presentable clothes for a volunteer appreciation picnic and toss any number of small and medium sized children into the car.

Have a magical week!

 

 

 

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Talk Like a Pirate!

Arrr!  How could I nearly let International Talk Like a Pirate Day slip by without posting about it!  Tsk!

Never fear.  I’ve assembled a few pirate goodies for you to take part with your wee pirates with what’s left of the day.

You can check out the Magical Childhood archives to help your kids choose their pirate names.

You can find sunken treasure at National Geographic education.

You can make Jack Sparrow’s tricorne hat cookiesAny cookie stuffed with peanut butter cups is a winner in my book!

You can find pirate crafts and activities at DLTK-kids.

You can make quick and easy (adorable!) newspaper swords, bandana pirate skirts and more at alphamom.

You can find activities for junior pirates (even a pirate curriculum!) at talk like a pirate day (the main site is not always child-friendly).

Lastly, you can have fun with the kids translating text (poetry, news items, homework!) into pirate speak at the english to pirate translator.

And for fun for the grown-ups, be sure to change your Facebook language to pirate for the day!

Here’s how:

  1. Click the Gear icon at the top of the Facebook page and select Account Settings.
  2. The account settings page opens and the language setting is the last one in the list.
  3. Click the Edit link next to it. The Choose Primary drop-down list appears.
  4. Click the drop-down list and click on Pirate English.

And with that, me hearties, I’m off to t’ play with me sprogs!

Have a swashbucklin’ day!

 

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10 Ways to Make Your Home Magical

Happy Monday!

I’ve been having fun brainstorming about home improvements around our house and looking at lots of blogs and Pinterest boards for inspiration lately.  I thought it would be fun to change up this week’s magical theme and focus on fun ways to make a little magic in our houses. 

Some of these are easy to implement and some are definitely the daydream type!  I tried to focus on doable projects instead of $15,000 pirate beds to purchase, though.  ;)

Click on any image to go to its source (or the closest I could find to an original with an image search). 

Here’s my list of 10 ways to make your home magical for children…

1.  Have hideaways and nooks.

2.  Incorporate ways kids can be active and meet their sensory needs.

3.  Add color.

4.  Add whimsy.

5.  Incorporate your family interests and personalities in your decorating.

6.   Bring in nature and the outside.

7.  Let the kids help create their spaces.

8. Make it a party all the time (at least in little ways).

9. Add lots of opportunity for creativity and fun.

10. Fill it with love.

You can check out my inspiration boards for indoor play spaces, outdoor play spaces, home ideas and more on Pinterest to see more of my favorite ideas, too. 

Keep in mind that you don’t need lots of money to make your home magical!  I kind of like the fact that our house came to us so old and beat up because I got a free pass to do whatever I liked to it over the years as we fixed it up.  I have painted words up the stairs, stenciled gold swirls around the bathroom mirror, hidden colorful dragonflies near baseboards, painted doors with chalkboard paint and have given my kids the insides of cupboards and closets to paint five year-old masterpieces on.  If you rent, you can bring in temporary magic with well placed fairy lights, appliance box forts, whimsical peel-off wall decals and so on.

And really, the most magical home accessory of all is the sound of laughter inside it.  :)

And with that, chickadees, I’m off to tackle a to-do list the size of a small city phone book and love on some kiddos.  Have a magical week!

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Ten Ways To Make Today Magical

Hello magical people!  I hope everything is wonderful in your corner of the universe.  Here’s a few ways to make some memories with your kids this week.

1.  For September, use a white crayon to write an invisible message or fun activity on each square in the calendar. Each day, let your child color the square with a marker to reveal the secret message.

2.  Tie-dye some clothes with tissue paper and squirt guns.  I first saw this darling craft on Dollar Store Crafts (that’s their versions below!) and loved the versions (and reports on what worked best) at How to… do something.

3.  Have a paper airplane derby. You’ll find free patterns for simple to fancy planes, helicopters, rockets, frisbees and more here.  This is also a fun way to reuse old coloring pages, worksheets, scrapbooking paper and even maps.

4.  Make crab apple cider If you’re lucky enough to have access to crab apple trees, you have to try making crab apple cider with the kids!  It’s easy (no apple press required) and the cider is beautiful ruby red and delicious.  We have friends who go to a park near their home every fall to harvest unsprayed crab apples for this stuff since we introduced them to it.  It’s a fun, tasty tradition!

5.  Do bleach pen altering.  Here’s a shirt Victoria did a couple of years ago and here’s how she did it.

6.  Invent a secret handshake or special good-bye.  Some families have special handshakes that mom or dad do with each child every morning before school.  Victoria and I had a long series of signs we went through every night when she went to bed for years.  It’s a special way to start the day or end the night and know you’re loved.

7.  Start making toasts every night at supper.

8.  Have a bake-off for your pup!  The internet is full of fun and easy recipes for dog treats, from sweet potato “rawhide” dog chews to gluten free pumpkin dog cookies to no-bake peanut butter oat balls. You can find assortments of recipes on sites like Dog Treat Recipes too.  Make up an assortment together and have your dogs do a taste test to determine their favorites. 

9.  Have a cleaning party with the kids.  Dress up in fabulous play dress-up clothes (party hats and/or tiaras are a must!), blast some happy music, grab some fun treats and clean like crazy together.  Set a timer for every 15 minutes to take a break and enjoy some treats together, and concentrate on being as wild and wacky as possible as you clean.  Decide on a fun family treat to enjoy together when you’re done. Who says cleaning has to be dull?!

10. See if a city near you has a sculpture walk.  Our family loves to visit Sioux Falls every year to walk the annual “sculpture walk” downtown.  Dozens of artists display their sculpture each year and the city gives out pamphlets that tell a little bit about each piece and let you vote on your favorite.  We all walk the streets together checking out all of the works and deciding which ones we like best.  I just found out that a city even closer to us has an annual sculpture walk too.

And with that, my dears, I’m off to catch up on the other 99 things on my to-do list!  Have a wonderful week and don’t forget to take care of you!

 

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Worry About Yourself!

I saw this adorable video on Technology Rocks. Seriously. and had to share it.  I love this little girl!  :)Happy Tuesday!

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