Garden Potions!

potions

Here’s a sweet way to make a little magic in the back yard this summer.

My Alex had been having fun making “potions” with rain water, grass clippings and such, and he asked me to help him find new ingredients.  I decided to make it a little extra magical and went and got a pitcher of tap water and a can from the recycling.  I secretly dropped a few drops of green food coloring in the bottom of the can, and then made a show of filling the “empty” can with some grass clippings from the yard.

I gave him the pitcher and told him that I’d put magic grass in the can.  Then I had him pour some water into the can and pour the can into a bucket.  Of course, the water in the can instantly turned bright green when it mixed with the food coloring at the bottom, and Alex and Fiona watched in amazement as the magically green water poured into the bucket.  :)

I also asked the kids to find 8 yellow dandelions for a second can (that I’d already secretly sprinkled with some yellow food coloring), and we used spent lilac blossoms for a third can that had some blue. 

I also gave them a jar of fairy dust (Florida sand from a vacation) to sprinkle in.

Lastly, I had them gather dandelion puffs so they could blow wishes into their concoctions.

I gave them lots of buckets to pour into, so they could also have fun with color mixing.

Alex is old enough that he easily figured the secret out, but he had fun pretending anyway.  Little Fiona just had fun gathering the ingredients and pouring and pouring.

They happily played for an hour with their potions.  It was an easy, nearly free, absolutely magical way to have some back yard fun.  We’ll definitely be doing more of it!

I also picked up an old spice rack with little glass bottles at a thrift store, and I’m going to assemble a whole magic potion rack for them to use sometime soon in their outdoor play kitchen.  I’ll try to post pictures and update how that goes!

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

Sorry to be MIA for so long again.  Let’s see if I can do better this month!  :) 

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

1.  Head outside to enjoy the spring weather for some simple, old fashioned fun together.  Blow bubbles (the photo above is from about 8 years ago when the local paper caught me playing with Jack and Victoria in the front yard).  Fly kites. Toss the frisbee.  There’s a reason those things have lasted so many generations.  They’re just fun!

bubblenews

2. Paint some walking sticks.  Head out to the woods and found some good specimens, and then bring them home and decorate them.

3. Play magic eight ball radio.  This silly game is something my husband and our sixteen year-old, Victoria, came up with on their way to play practice together last month.  All they do is ask the radio a question (How is opening night going to go?  Should the family go to Sioux Falls tomorrow?  How is Alex going to act at the restaurant?) and then press “seek” on the radio.  The first line or sentence that someone says or sings after it finds a station is the answer.  Sometimes they have to press seek a few times to get a proper answer. The answers tend to be pretty funny, and our whole family was laughing when they taught us how to play last week.  :)

radio

4.  Make some yarn eggs together.  We first did this craft when my Annalee was a preschooler.  She’s now fifteen!  Here are the instructions.

5.  Do some dice drawing!  Here’s a free printable to play this fun art game, or you could make up your own together.

6.  Go for a walk in the rain (or after the rain) and go puddle stomping together.

Dancing in the rain

7.  Make some Ivory soap clouds in the microwave and then paint them.  Here are the easy instructions and the science behind what happens.

8.  Do some chalk art around the house and yard together.  Parents magazine says:

Walk around outside your home with a piece or two of chalk and look for interesting patterns — eyes in knots of wood, oddly shaped cracks in the sidewalk or driveway, a nail hole in the wall — that can be turned into a little picture with a few quick strokes. Let your imagination lead you; chalk isn’t permanent. Take a photo for yourself, then leave your art for someone else to find.

9.  Do a photo shoot together.  Kids of all ages love to pose for photos, and then you can play with filters and photo apps to perfect the shots.  This is also one of my kids’ favorite ways to make memories with each other.  My big kids are always getting the little ones to pose for them.  :)

Photo by Jack (age 9), edited by Anna (age 12)

Photo by Jack (age 9), edited by Anna (age 12)

think

Photo of Fiona (age 3) by Anna (age 14)

10.  Make some DIY cardboard box kits!  I absolutely love this idea from Inner Child Fun.  Head over for the easy instructions.

And with that, chickadees, I’m off to try to catch up on the next 150 things I’m behind on!  Have a magical week!

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Random Acts of Holiday Kindness

Happy Tuesday!  Sorry to be gone so long again.  There has been all sorts of mayhem in our busy little house, as always.  Once again, I’m working on finding a way to post here more often.  We’ll see how it goes!

I know that a lot of families do Random Acts of Kindness this time of year and I stumbled on this post from coffee cups and crayons that listed 24 of them to do with kids.  There are even free printables to go along with it. I especially like the idea of “candy cane bombing” a parking lot.  :)

FCUBED has just a few RAK ideas but I really liked the idea of taping popcorn to the Redbox machine.  :)

My friend Tiffany does her own RAK holiday fun with her kids each December and you can follow along with their sweet ideas on her blog at Harried Homeschooling Mama.

And this one isn’t random acts of kindness  but I really love the idea of 25 Days of Zen – Holiday Edition from Zen Schmen.

And for heaven’s sake, don’t worry about starting late or doing enough days.  Do a bunch of little ones in one day together, or do one a day from now on, or one total, or anything that works for you and yours.  Those of you who know me know that I’m all about letting go of guilt and perfectionism!  Just have fun with it!

Happy Holidays!  Don’t forget to slow down and enjoy the magic of the season.  :)

 

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Don’t Let the Pigeon Make Some Crafts!

Do you have Mo Willems fans in your family?  We are huge fans of all of his books, but especially the pigeon books.

I found this adorable craft today via the Learning with Literature group Pinterest board.

With lots of other adorable pigeon ideas at the lovely blog it’s from, Diary of a First Grade Teacher.

And she led to me This and That at the Library, which had the printable to make the toilet tube pigeons.

The Learning with Literature board also had this adorable balloon craft from Shauna Lynn, along with a ton of sweet birthday ideas.

  

Even with their own cardboard bus!

So I went looking for some more pigeon fun and found this darling handprint paint craft at Mommy and Me Book Club.

And this idea for making hand puppets to retell the story, off of Pinterest (no link, just an image).

And another bus from another birthday party over at Two Little Birds and a Bug.

Then I found a Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive The Bus Printable over at Plants and Pillars.

Learning with Miss Jenny has two wonderful crafts, a popsicle stick puppet activity and a craft where kids can make their own pigeon and recommend what the next book should be called.

And then Coffee Cups and Crayons has this adorable playdough pigeon kit!

The Best Children’s Books has this tutorial for kids to draw their own pigeons.

And Libraryland has this neat printable pigeon writing activity.

 (Best answer ever, Jordan!)

And the official Pigeon Presents has all sorts of other fun, from online activities to monthly coloring pages to an 8 page teacher’s guide and more (the Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! 10th Birthday Celebration Activity Kit is especially fun!).

I know what we’re doing next week!

Have fun!

 

 

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Let’s Learn About the Weather!

There are some wonderful, whimsical freebies out there to help little ones learn about the weather.

Here are some of my favorites!

Paint on the Ceiling has a Free Printable Weather Chart for Preschoolers.

Mr. Printables offers My Weather Station | Printable Weather Activity.

Fantail Digital Art has “My First Weather Chart” Free Printable

And Stickers and Charts has FREE weather printables, rainbow printables, and weather stickers.


And if you really want to track the weather, PBS lets you go all out here.

Now, here’s some wonderful weather to track!

 

 

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Today’s Assignments

silly

Yes, assignments!  Bet you didn’t know there would be homework when you wandered in!  :)

Please do at least one of the following:

  1. Get down on the floor to play.
  2. Build something, paint something or otherwise create something.
  3. Give your child at least 10 hugs and/or kisses.
  4. Do something nice for somebody else’s child.
  5. Do something nice for you.
  6. Laugh like a fool.
  7. Frame some of your child’s art and display it where it will make you smile.
  8. Just sit and talk with your child.
  9. Make silly faces at your kids and then play innocent when they look.
  10. Leave a comment with an assignment of your own.

Extra credit if you do more than one!  Do not do all ten.  No perfectionism allowed.  :)

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

I hope things are good in your little corner of the world.  Things are pretty good in ours.  I have all of my chicks back in the nest, which makes for a crowded but happy nest in my book.

This summer, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder related to my blood (Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome or Hughes Syndrome) and also with a seizure disorder.  My neurologist has prescribed anti-seizure medication but it’s a pretty serious medication and I’m generally a natural kind of girl.  If anybody has experience with natural treatments to help manage seizures, please leave me a note!  These are not the type of seizures that make me lose consciousness or anything like that, just frequent “sharp waves” and “lightning strikes” throughout the day that make life a little more challenging (as if having five kids doesn’t do enough of that already!).

My husband read once that September is the month of winds and magic.  This certainly is a magical time of the year.  Here are a few ways to make some memories with the kiddos this week….

1.  Stop at a park you pass and explore it together.

August 8

We passed this tiny park about an hour from our home and we got a kick out of the quote by Ole Synsteby about how busy folks are “these days” with their motor cars and such.  :)

August 8

2.  Teach the kids some magic tricks.  Here’s one site that has some simple ones for kids.

3.  Go feed some ducks, pigeons or seagulls.

4.  Tell the kids that they can’t use their hands for dessert tonight.  Take pictures!

5.  Do some playing in history.  Make cardboard viking shields, have a Little House on the Prairie day, eat like the Colonial Days, make LEGO pyramids or otherwise delve into history through play.  You can peek at my Playing in History board on Pinterest for inspiration.

6.  Watch movies with the kids of when they were little or snuggle up on the couch and look through old photo albums.  Tell stories and be sappy.

7.  Throw a family cocktail party.  Make up some little appetizers and arrange some party platters with tasty favorite foods that you usually reserve for parties.  Put out some fun and fancy looking drinks and fancy glasses (or plastic partyware).  Even orange juice turns fancy in a special glass with a sugared rim!  Tell everybody to dress up, put on some background music and mingle!

8.  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!

9.  Do balloon chores!  Write simple jobs on small pieces of paper and slip them into balloons.  Blow up the balloons and let the kids each pick one to pop.  They do whichever job is inside.  When their job is finished, they get to pop another balloon and do the next one.  Fill a few of them with jokes or other fun freebies, too.

10. Have a Ten Good Deeds Day.  Each family member picks 10 things to do for others (strangers or loved ones) and writes them down.  When the last one is done, everybody celebrates with a little group reward.  Try to log the good deeds in a special place so you can look back on them later.

And with that, I’m off to feed my hungry masses and wrestle the kitchen into shape.  Have a magical week!

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