Monthly Archives: August 2009

Can You Break an Egg With Your Bare Hands?!

First off, sorry for those of you who got a message in code yesterday!  I used a font that apparently was not on speaking terms with Live Journal or the reader or something.  Hopefully it all works now!  Now on to today’s fun….

I learned something nifty from The Little Travelers today.  Their mama says you cannot break an egg with your bare hands!  Apparently it is a lot stronger than we realize and she challenged her kids to just try to squeeze it hard enough to break it.  That sounded like a fun experiment to me!  I hate to take chances with our lovely backyard chicken eggs from the farmers’ market, but she assures me they really will be safe.  It sounds like a fun challenge!  Anybody else up for it?  🙂

Happy Tuesday!



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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

1.  Let your child use washable markers and give you an ankle tattoo.

2.  Go to another town and on the way make up totally different identities for yourselves.  All day, call yourselves by your fake names and play along with your alternate life.  Encourage the kids to really get creative for eavesdroppers.  🙂

3.  Take apart a bunch of old jewelry and try to make a new artistic creation together.

4.  Have dinner with all conversations in pig latin.

5.  Write and mail letters to yourselves.

6.  Build something out of supper!  Create a landscape, for instance, with a big mountain of mashed potatoes surrounded by broccoli forests and a log cabin fish stick house.  Let kids cut yourcreation like a cake and eat their favorite parts.

7.  Learn something together.  Pick a subject– from origami to bird calls– and look it up online, at the library, or ask a friend to teach you.

8.  Browse a site like the Crafty Crow or Dollar Store Crafts (links are on the sidebar) together and pick a project to do as a "Mom and me" craft together.

9.  Play hide and seek.

10. Look for signs.  Tell the kids you’re going to find 10 signs as to what you should do next or to solve a problem.  Assign someone to write them all down.  Then go on a walk and pay attention to accidental letters spelled in the sky by airplanes, birds that caw as you pass, flowers growing in the sidewalk….. At home, randomly open a book and point to see what word your finger lands on.  Have the kids help assign "meanings" to each sign.  Make sure they know it’s all in fun.  Afterwards, talk about how you can find signs to tell you to do anything if you try hard enough.  Encourage them to be as outlandish as possible!


Tomorrow we are going to get Victoria to bring her home from Nebraska.  She’s been gone almost 2 weeks and it’s beginning to feel like she’s off at college!  Hopefully she can handle the mess, noise and chaos of our crazy family after so long with Tiffany and her gang.  Like it or not, I want her back.  🙂

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


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Budget Robot Maker!

Magical Daddy Daryl found this fun site and the kids have had a great time making robots.

I’d write more, but I have a toddler who just woke up sad and wants Mama.  The experts tell me I should train him not to need love when he wakes up sad at night.  Pah on experts.  🙂

Happy Sunday!

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3 Fun Projects!

Here’s three fun projects I’ve seen lately that I thought were too fun to pass up!

The Spore Project shows how to make these fun paper bag mushrooms…

They’re cute painted too!

Do make sure to read the history page to find out how this all began.  I love the idea of him filling his friends’ lawns with mushrooms and the message about art is such an important one.

Then on This Mama Makes Stuff there’s a brilliant little scrap cloth/paper doll kit.  This would be so simple to make up, put in a pretty box and give as a gift to keep some little designer busy for eons.  Anna and Victoria love fashion design and I bet I could make up a slightly more sophisticated model for them to fashion outfits for.  If boys didn’t like the idea of making girl clothes you could also make up a boy doll or even a robot or superhero.  My Jack is all about robots and superheroes.  🙂

Lastly, One Busy Mama posted about this fabulous monster-making dice game and I absolutely love the idea.

I know my boys would love this one too.  It would help Alex with his counting (I’d help with the drawing) and for Jack it would just be fun.  🙂

Happy Saturday!

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A Magical Childhood is on Facebook!

Daryl set up a fan page for A Magical Childhood on Facebook yesterday.  I’m still new at Facebook and figuring out what I’m doing, but if you’re a member you can search for it or see if this works.  I told you I’m a novice!  🙂

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Sheet Painting!

Here’s what we did around here yesterday.

Here’s what Jack’s legs looked like by the end!

That’s okay!  Children are not dry clean only.  They wash easily!  🙂

It was bittersweet to remember this kid….

Being this kid!

This seems like so many lifetimes ago!

Have you done sheet painting lately?  It’s so easy but here’s some ideas on what we use.



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Water Play!

I love these ideas for water play for small children at Domestically Blissed!  While we still have some summer here, I’d really like to set up a little stream in the side yard with some leftover plastic sheeting we have, the hose and some rocks and boats and fun stuff.  I love the idea of pouring water into the bottles on the clothesline too, and I’d freeze a giant chunk of ice to chip at but my freezer is absolutely stuffed with fruits and veggies from the Farmers’ Market, strawberry picking, our garden and other summer bounties.  🙂

Check out the rest of the blog for lots more interesting and fun stuff too!  

(Gypsy, I left a long and wandering comment about Waldorf & Montessori on your blog last week but for some reason Blogger keeps eating my comments!  It has happened on a half dozen blogs lately and I seem cursed to sending my words out into an abyss when I try to leave a note!  I only seem to be able to comment on blogs that allow me to just put in name & URL, not ones that ask for Open ID or Livejournal information.  In any case, it’s an interesting discussion.  I was a Montessori kid but with my own kids I steal a little from every philosophy and make up our own too.)  🙂


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Picture Book Challenge

The New York Public Library collected this list of 100 picture books every child should know.  How many have you and your kiddos read together?  Why not start a quest to track down any that you haven’t read and then pick your favorites?  If you think they have any books left off that should be on the list, please add them in the comments! 

I personally would add…

  • A Fairy Went A-Market
  • More, More, More! Said the Baby
  • Kiss the Cow
  • Crictor
  • There’s a Nightmare in my Closet
  • Miss Rumphius
  • Mama, Do You Love Me?

As for our number, it’s 55.  I would have sworn we’d know more with all the reading we do!  Now I have some new books to look for at the library. 

So what’s your number?  And what would you add?  I’d love to hear your favorites!


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One Child Short

Victoria is once again down in Nebraska, staying with our wonderful friends Tiffany, Rex and kiddos.  They are like family, only more fun! 

This is day four or so of our oldest child being gone.  We miss her, but we’re glad she’s got the opportunity to do neat stuff like this. 

Last time Victoria was down in Nebraska, she had reached her infamous all-grown-up, who-needs-Mom stage.  I am pleased to report that she outgrew that and now misses me quite a bit. 

Is it wrong to be happy about this?  🙂 

Not that she’s miserable and not that I’m gleeful about it, but she calls frequently and wants to just talk and talk.  She says she wishes I were down there with her. We talked for 59 minutes just in one call.  Thank goodness we got unlimited long distance!

I’m glad my little girl is growing up, but I’m also so glad that she once again cherishes Mama time.  Eleven was just too young to give her up!

I hear she’s having a wonderful time, though.  She’s made new friends, helped babysit a toddler, gone on walks, played Wii and Nintendo and an invented magic dragon game, gone to the great big library they have (that’s a big deal to Victoria!), took a roadtrip to Kansas and even got to go to the (gasp) mall.  Yes, malls are big deals to us out here too.  We’re 90 miles away from the nearest real one! 

We’ve been trying to have extra fun around here with the younger kids.  I know it’s hard to watch their big sister get to go off on adventures with friends they all love too.  We’ve been on some neat field trips and had fun little treats.

Sometime in the next week, we’ll head south and meet up somewhere to pick Victoria up.  For now, she gets to play at having a funny British mom who makes wonderful tea, a take-charge dad who spoils everybody and a much neater, much quieter house with lots and lots of pets and fun new siblings.

And I still can’t wait to get her back.  🙂

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

I’m swiping this week’s list from August of 2002, when I had just found out that I was pregnant with Jack!  It’s nice having nearly ten years’ worth of yapping to fall back on when it’s late and you want to go read a magazine.  🙂 

1.  Cut old sheets, curtains, skirts or spare material into long strips and pin them onto the kids’ clothing.  Let the kids run through the yard with their streamers and fasten some to sticks to ribbon dance with.  If they’re plain white and you want to add art, use markers to decorate.

2.  Plan a special afternoon with each child and tour a local art museum.  Take your time and talk about works you each like and why.  See if there are some techniques you guys would like to try at  home.  We went to a great exhibit of an Ethiopian artist at a tiny nearby museum and the kids were delighted to see that some of  his paintings were done with materials like yarn and scraps of paper glued on.  The quiet atmosphere and slow pace is perfect for conversations.

3.  Start reading a book series together at a special time each day.  Ask your librarian for suggestions or check out any of the great book lists online.  Victoria and I are up to book #10 in the Magic Treehouse series and she and Annalee now play act the characters.  It’s become a special saga for all of us to keep up on.  Check out Jim Trelease’s Read Aloud Handbook for suggestions of marvelous books to read aloud for each age.

4.  Invent a secret handshake or special good-bye.  A darling family on Oprah demonstrated incredibly convoluted "handshakes" that the father shared with each child every morning before school.  What a special way to start the day and know you’re loved!

5.  Have a No No Day No "no’s" allowed!  For one day, make it off limits for either you or your child to say the word no.  Make up funny punishments for slipping up or put fun things in a jar as punishments (some of mom’s: cuddle with me for 10 minutes on the couch, wear that darling outfit that you make faces in… some of the kids’: read us 3 books, play frisbee in the back yard…).  Find creative things to say instead of no, like "That sounds like fun but maybe instead of ice cream for supper we could make supper look like ice cream" or "I don’t think we can do that but we could ____ instead" or even (gasp) "yes"!

6.  Brainstorm on creative ways to do 10 dreaded cleaning chores.  For instance, see if the kids can clean the full length mirror behind their backs, make their beds with their eyes closed, or "sweep" the hallway by repeatedly pressing a big piece of old contact paper on it.  🙂

7.  Sit down with the kids and help them write several manufacturers of products they like, saying what they like, what (if anything) they don’t like, and any suggestions they have for improving them.  Mail them off and talk to them about how maybe they’ll get a letter back and how their opinion could help change the product.  Don’t tell the kids, but be on the lookout for free coupons when they write back!  Kids can also do this with stuff they don’t like.  Victoria called a cookie mix company last week with my help and said how sad she was that the sprinkles on the cookie picture didn’t come with the mix.  It can be empowering for kids to feel like they’re taken seriously as consumers!  And free goodies are never a bad thing.  🙂

7. Start making toasts every night at supper.

8.  Mail your child a long letter telling her special memories you have of him and reasons you’re proud of him.  If you have a teen, start leaving notes for each other to talk.  Sometimes older kids have an easier time addressing things through letters.

9.  Take a field trip to tour a nearby factory.  I still remember touring the Paul Mason winery near our house in California when I was little.  We got lollipops at the end (wine for grown ups!) and we sat and watched the fountain light up.  Even the most mundane factory can seem enormous and fascinating to a child.

10.  Give your child a flower petal bath.  Gather some flower petals from flowers like roses (any will do though!) and scatter them on the bath water.  If you like, you can add a couple of drops of some essential oils like lavender.  You can make it more elaborate and make it a magic bath– tossing in a handful of epsom salts for strength, a teaspoon of baby oil for luck, and so on.  Invite your child to create her own symbolism for what the petals represent.  Or they can mean nothing at all.  No matter what, it feels luxurious and fun!

It’s kind of neat how some things stay the same.  Jack and I are now reading the Magic Treehouse books together and just today we all took a tour of a vineyard and winery together.  The kids didn’t get lollipops in the end but we followed it up with a picnic at a gorgeous park, a hike to a waterfall and dessert of the world’s biggest, sprinkliest donuts.  (Yes, I made that word up, but don’t you think it needed to be invented?!)   🙂

Have a magical week, folks!  Don’t forget to take care of you.


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