Monthly Archives: December 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Go here for fun ways to celebrate 2010 with the kiddos.

Now if you’ll excuse me
I have to go cut lots and lots of confetti
and make a terrible mess of my kitchen.



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Color Me Katie and Coloring Snow

I’ve mentioned Color Me Katie’s blog before
but in case you haven’t visited lately
here’s a fun idea she posted recently.

What a fun way to deal with dirty city snow
or clean snow, for that matter!

Happy Thursday!


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Hot Vanilla Milk!

Here’s a super easy and tasty treat you can make next time the kiddos come in from the cold.  Hot vanilla milk is quite a bit like hot chocolate, except (obviously!) it’s made with vanilla and it’s also way easier!

To make:          

Heat a cup of milk in the microwave or on the stove until very hot.  In my microwave, that’s about 1 minute.  Stir in a dash of vanilla (I just pour about a cap full, it doesn’t take much) and sugar to taste (try about a teaspoon and tinker to your child’s taste, you could obviously use honey too).  Stir and serve! 

I have an aunt who only sends me pink things (don’t ask, and no, I don’t particularly care for pink!) and she sent me some junky pink marshmallows recently so we topped our hot vanilla milk with some of those last time.  You can also go all out and dollop whipped cream on top.

For a different taste, you and the kiddos can experiment with other extracts (butterscotch, peppermint, etc.).  Enjoy!


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Icy Science!

Here’s some cold weather ideas courtesy of All the DAZE.  Some are old favorites around here and some are brand new to me.  I’m going to see if we can do some this week to make use of all of the cold we have around here.  🙂

* Add food coloring to water. Freeze into ice cubes and bring outside to use in snow.

* Color the snow with spray bottles filled with water and food coloring.

* Fill plastic container lids with water and tissue paper.  Add a string and freeze until solid.  Hand in a tree and watch them melt and drip on a warm day!

* Freeze blocks of ice and let the children spray them with warm colored salt water.  Watch the crevasses and holes the water makes in the ice.

* Add colored ice cubes to warm water.

* Use a scale and weigh ice, water and snow.

* Pour sprite into a clean ice cube tray.  Place one jellybean per cube holder.  Freeze and see what happens.

And I had to share these pictures from yesterday…

Yes, we did get a wee bit of snow!
Here’s Jack helping Alex up into our front yard.  🙂

Stay warm, chickadees!
Happy Tuesday!


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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

1.  Make nature confetti.  Let kids duplicate the fun of tossing confetti without the mess to clean up– and help birds and squirrels at the same time.  In a large bowl, mix up bird seed, dried corn, crumpled leaves, small dried fruits, flower petals and/or any other natural materials you have on hand.  Take the bowl outside and encourage the kids to toss handfuls up in the air.  They can shout happy new year, offer up wishes for loved ones and so on as they toss.

2.  Use sand molds to make a really whimsical supper.  Wash them really well and then use them to make mashed potato castles (make it thick, oil the mold, pack it in and then very gently unmold), sea creature ice cream shapes (soften ice cream and spoon into molds, freeze and gently unmold by dipping the mold side quickly in hot water) and so on.  You can decorate the creations with fancy toothpicks, blueberry eyes, peas and carrots, you name it.

3.  Be detectives.  Take the kids to any public place and concoct a story together of what occurred there.  The kids can use clues as small as footprints or litter to figure out what kind of people (or animals) were there and what they might have been doing.  Invent the rest of the story together and weave an exciting tale based on the clues left behind.

4.  If you’re in a cold state, make ice sculptures.  Freeze colored water in all sorts of containers and then unmold them outside (dip them in a bucket of warm water to easily do this).  Use snow to stick pieces to each other and make your creation as elaborate as you can.  Proudly display them and take pics before the next warm day!

5.  If you have snow in your area, get the kids wondering what kind of visitors have been poking about!  Use carpet remnant, large pieces of cardboard or other scrap materials to make some giant beast prints.  Cut them out (an exacto knife works well) and then poke two holes in each to tie them onto a pair of shoes.  Now go stomp around in the snow while the kids are sleeping or away, and really get them wondering!

6.  Go sledding or ice skating in the kitchen!  Pull little ones around on towels, or have them put on socks and slip around the floor.  Older kids can pull the little ones and accidentally get some exercise in at the same time!  If you’re brave enough, give them a bucket of warm soapy water and have them "mop" the floor with their stocking feet.  My girls used to love to do this, though it can get pretty wet!

7.  Look for cake wrecks together or make one of your own!

8.  Have your child use magic markers or fabric pens to alter a pair of old white tennies.  Slip a bell onto each shoelace so she can jingle when she walks.

9.  Print out some printable toys of your children’s favorite characters.

10. Gather a few branches in a pot or heavy vase to make a New Year tree.  Give the kids strips of ribbon, small pieces of paper with a hole punched for hanging, and a pen.  Ask them to write wishes, prayers or blessings for themselves and loved ones for the coming year.  Tie the wishes to the branches.  Kids can decorate their blessing tree throughout the year to match the season.  At the end of the year, give them another color of paper to write out thanks and record accomplishments.  The papers can be saved in a small container or scrapbook.

Have a magical week!


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An Old Fashioned Christmas

Today is the day we usually dress up in our fanciest clothes
and head to Great Grandma Lueck’s house
to see extended family we’ve missed all year
and eat too much wonderful food
and get a belly ache from cookies and candy.

Usually, we spend the night at Grandma & Grandpa’s
and come down Christmas morning
for cookies and fruit soup
and then open presents.

We are expecting somewhere around a foot of snow
and some ice
so we will not be doing the usual.
We’ll be home for Christmas
without presents
(we had our family celebration already on the solstice
and opened our family presents then).
Luckily Santa can get through with his one present for each child
and I think we’ll fill the stockings with old fashioned treats
like oranges and handmade toys.

We’ll watch the snow and drink cocoa
and play games and play Christmas music
and read Christmas stories
and be together
and I think it sounds like
a perfect Christmas.

I’ll be back online in a day or two.
Merry Christmas
or for those who celebrate other things
Happy Thursday and Friday!

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Good Things to Make

This glitter playdough

This cranberry sauce

This on top of hot chocolate for the kids

These 10 second ornaments with the kids

This origami Santa hat for the kids to wear

But mostly make…

…The kids laugh.

…Some special memories.

.…Time to enjoy the season.

…Tea or hot buttered rum or whatever makes you feel pampered.

I’ve lost track of the days.  Happy Wednesday I think!

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

1.  Camp out under the Christmas tree overnight.

2.  Give each child a small amount of money and go shopping for the food shelf.  Let them choose what they buy, reminding them to look for stuff they’d want to eat but also that they can get a lot more by buying inexpensive items.  Go together to the food shelf or drop off spot.

3.  Go for a drive to see holiday lights.  Better yet, park and walk.

4.  See if your church or neighborhood groups are going Christmas caroling, or put together your own group and visit a few neighbors.

5.  Make gingerbread people or gingerbread houses (for an easy way, use white frosting to glue graham crackers to form the house, and even use a milk carton as a base).

6. Take in a concert at a nearby school or community center.

7.  Dress up in holiday colors and/or fancy clothes for everyday stuff.  Add curling ribbon to the kids’ hair (and yours!), wear necklaces made from small ornaments, and generally dress to the nines.

8.  Make time each day to turn off all the noise, gather with the kids and read poetry or scripture that moves you, say prayers, or otherwise concentrate on your spirituality in a meaningful way.

9.  Have a red and green meal.

10. Forget about all the "gottas" and live the season through children’s eyes again.  Drink egg nog, sing along badly to carols, sit in the dark and watch the tree, get something flashy for the yard or the door, wear one red and one green sock, tell absolutely everybody "Happy holidays" when you’re out, smile extra, buy yourself a present, make crafts with the kids, play in the snow (or in the sprinkler), light candles, give donations, look at the stars, dance in the kitchen, be goofy with the kids, wink at Santa, say thank you, watch Rudolph, slow down, and enjoy the beauty and the holiness of this amazing world.

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Latest Writing and Monkey Pictures

Just thought I’d post a few of the articles I’ve put up lately:

Join the 2010 Happiness Challenge!

Best for Babes looking for blogs to run its breastfeeding PSA

The AAP recommends no spanking and discusses why it doesn’t work

What to do instead of spanking

Parenting secrets for peaceful holidays

And have you heard of Nonja the orangutan?
She uses a camera that dispenses a raisin with every click
and the photos are automatically uploaded to
her Facebook page

She has over 70,000 fans!

and yes, I know she’s an orangutan and not a monkey
so here’s my own monkey pics.  🙂

Christmas photo outtakes!


Happy Sunday!

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Quick Christmas Fun

Here’s a sweet interactive Christmas scene from Ashland University that the kids can help make magical with a few clicks of the mouse.

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