Monthly Archives: September 2009

Shine

Magical Mama Sharon passed on this wonderful little mini movie that is actually a Thai commercial.  She wrote:

I just love your blog and know how strongly you feel about encouraging your children to be the best.  I think you will love this inspirational video.  It’s actually a Pantene commercial although I’m not sure what it has to do with hair.  But I love the message it sends and I shared it with my daughter and her friends.

 
It’s beautiful!  What a wonderful little story and the music is moving too.  Thanks Sharon!

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In Pictures: 10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Here’s a few snapshots of last week that helped make our trip magical.  Most of them can be easily incorporated near home too!

1.  Find or build a natural hide-out or clubhouse.

Look at these fabulous thrones that someone made at one secluded beach we found!

2.  Find a little restaurant where you can try something brand new to you
(or introduce the kids to a treat from your childhood).

3.  Go hiking.  For older kids, the crazier the terrain, the better.

4.  Feed the ducks, pigeons or seagulls (Victoria and Daddy even got them to fly up and take bread from their hands!  See the bread in this one’s beak?!).

5.  Blow a few dollars’ worth of quarters on arcade rides just for fun.

6.  Find a pond and feed the fishes.  The kids had dozens of fish swarming for bits of bread and they nearly got them to take it from their hands.  They also had fun experimenting with what sizes and shapes of bread the fish would go for.  It turns out they were particular!

7.  Go rock hunting.  Designate neat uses for rocks you collect — a special garden, a decorated jar of the prettiest or even craft projects like garden markers made with smooth stones and paint pens.

8.  Speaking of which, we decided to bring these rocks home to use as natural toys because of their imaginative shapes!  See what you can find at the park, in the yard or at home to turn into creative new playthings — acorns, pine cones, scrap wood, even bits from the recycling bin.

9.  Wake up earlier than usual and head out together for breakfast, hot cocoa or an early morning treat together when the world is still completely different.

10.  When you’ve all been stuck in the car too long, look for a park sign or ask a passer-by and find a new park to explore together for a bit.

And with that, my dears, I’m off to ignore the laundry (and the broken dryer) and the messes for just a little bit longer and snuggle with some sleeping cuties.  Have a magical week!

~Alicia

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Magical Moments

I just had to share a few photos from our trip last week to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Wisconsin.  It was such a magical time! 

Favorite souvenir ever:


 

 

 

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Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Magical Mama Amelia had her pirate calendar in order and let me know that tomorrow, September 19, is Talk Like a Pirate Day! 

Amelia writes:

Were you aware that the 19th is International Talk Like A Pirate day?

The celebration was made up by a couple of men while playing tennis (their website explains it not all child-safe but interesting) and has since gone round the world.

The basic idea is that one should talk like a pirate for the entire day.

Anything else; dressing like a pirate, raising a black flag and sailing round the neighborhood, hunting for buried treasure or making treasure maps etc is entirely optional, but fun!
 
I thought I should let you know about this little bit of craziness (and the fact that two men acting on a whim were able to create an entire new festival) in case you wanted to let a little pirate magic into your life.


But of course!  🙂  Thanks Amelia!

What fun!  I’ve been wanting to take part ever since I missed it last year but I had completely forgotten about it all over again.  🙂

The web site also has this page just for the PG rated kid-friendly pirate stuff.  There are lesson plans, kid pirate lingo, games, links, a pirate song and more.

Happy Saturday, Maties!

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

We’re off to take a family vacation in Michigan!  We’ll be around Little Girl Point in the Upper Peninsula, beach combing for agates and exploring the Porcupine Mountains.

I should be back around Friday.  In the meantime, here are ten of my all time favorite ways to make the day magical….

1.  Give the kids a box of dress-up clothes — old Halloween costumes, old fashioned hats, capes, ball gowns and such and take them out to the back yard or someplace picturesque to take a fun photo shoot.

2.  Find someplace busy and blow bubbles on a windy day.  One of my favorite memories is blowing bubbles with the kids during rush hour from a park towards a busy street.  We had bubbles going everywhere and there were so many grins and smiles from once-weary motorists.

3.  Take the kids out to the back yard or a field or park after dark and toss something glow in the dark in the moonlight.  The darker the night and the higher the tosses, the better!

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

5.  Wait till it rains and go dance in it, then stomp in puddles until you’re all soaked.

6.  Do a random act of silliness together.  Brainstorm about ways to make friends and family go "huh?".  Mail a really bizarre gift (anonymously) to a friend.  Leave little post it notes that say things like "woodchuck" or "look out behind you!".  Print out a Shakespearean sonnet and hide it in the corn flakes.  Be creative and have fun!

7.  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.

8.  Mail your kids greeting cards just because, and tell them how crazy much you love them — and why.

9.  Have random theme days.  On purple day, everybody wears purple and you make purple food.  On letter B day you do things that start with the letter B (bowling, bubble blowing, barking…) and eat things that start with the letter B.  Have Pirate Day, Backwards Day (wear your clothes backwards, eat supper for breakfast, read a book from the back to the front…), you name it!

10. Get out the good china and make dinner a fancy affair.  Light candles, put on special music, etc. and tell the kids that there’s no better "company" than them.  Practice your fancy manners together and serve foods with extra fancy flourishes (pipe the mashed potatoes with a pastry tube, use garnishes, etc.).

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And with that, my fabulous mama friends, I am off for the wilds of Michigan! 

Please talk amongst yourselves!  🙂  See you Friday!

~Alicia

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A Few Good Crafts

We’re getting ready to leave for a family trip to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan.  I’ll post a list of 10 ways to make the day magical tomorrow and then we’ll be off to the U.P. until around Friday.  Daryl and I went years ago with a friend and accidentally found this tiny beach named "Little Girl’s Point."  It was filled with agates and we’ve talked to the kids about it over the years.  They fell in love with the idea of beach combing for agates and we decided to go visit again, plus see some of the other wonderful sites in the area.

For now, here’s a few crafts that caught my eye on the web lately….

Here’s a fun and easy idea to occupy little ones.  My kids always loved our geo board but I never thought of making our own or of using hair ties. 

My kids would love making a body flip book like this one!  I think I’ll print out the supplies so they can make some during the car ride.  One of the big kids can make one for Alex, too.  I think the humor will appeal to him.  🙂

Make your own Moon SandThis simple recipe calls for colored play sand, corn starch and water.  I wonder if you could use your own sandbox sand with corn starch and colored water to make some cool moldable sand along the same lines?  In any case, it looks like a blast!

Have you seen or done any fun crafts lately?  Please share!

Happy Sunday!
~Alicia

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Note to Self

  • More saying yes
  • More grinning
  • More playing outside
  • More fresh local melons
  • More reading to everybody
  • More snuggling
  • More art challenges
  • More crab apple cider
  • More family chore times
  • More toddler kisses
  • More family puzzles
  • More badminton
  • More fashion design challenges
  • More hugs
  • More open windows and September breezes
  • More walks
  • More counting blessings
  • More empathizing
  • More sleep (talk about dreaming!)  😉

Happy weekend!  What do you want to do more of?

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Easy Crab Apple Cider



We came home with two bags of crab apples from a friend’s tree last week and I got busy trying to find good recipes to use them up.  I tried a crab apple bread but it just tasted so-so to me (I think next time I’ll finely chop them and put them in a banana bread for a better taste combination).  So I decided to just tinker and it worked out fabulously!

I came up with a dead easy way to make crab apple cider and it looks and tastes divine.  Victoria said it was just like red kool-aid (a compliment and a rare treat as far as V is concerned!) but I would say it’s more like a cross between apple cider and lemonade, only ruby red with just a hint of spice.  And that bright red color means lots of disease-fighting, vitamin-rich nutrients too!

Here’s the recipe.

1.  Find yourself a friend with a crab apple tree.  Pick a bunch!

2.  Wash them and use a paring knife to cut a wedge off (avoiding the stem and blossom end), then cut off another side and another, till you have the core with the top and bottom left.  Avoid wormy spots or bad areas.  If the trees have not been sprayed there’s likely to be lots.  Oh well!  It’s organic that way and it’s still free food.  😉 

3.  Put them in a big pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and simmer the heck out of them until they are very tender and they have lost much of their color.

4.  Line a strainer with some cheesecloth (optional) and scoop it into the strainer over a big bowl.  Squeeze the juice out of the crab apples and use them for baking if you like (they’ll taste like wimpy cooked apples at this point but will be divine in Mix and Match Quick Bread… holler if you want that recipe!).

5.  Return the liquid to the pan and add sugar to taste.  Bring back to a simmer to dissolve the sugar and add water if it’s too strong.  If it’s not strong enough, simmer to reduce it until it’s just right.  Serve warm or chill.

It tastes divine, it’s practically free to make and it’s LOADED with fabulously healthy stuff.  And it’s pretty.  You can’t beat that!  🙂

Happy Friday!
~Alicia

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Preschool Fun!

We’re at Grandma and Grandpa’s house overnight so I only have a minute but I had to post something fun.  Here’s a list of tons of fabulous things to do with preschool (and other) aged kids.  There are SO MANY great ideas, projects and activities, not to mention great sites to visit.  (Finding Magical Childhood recommended made me smile too!) 

Happy Thursday! 

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This Song is Stuck Inside Our Heads….

My kids thought we should get it stuck in yours too!  🙂

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