Monthly Archives: May 2010


My dishes went unwashed today,
I didn’t make the bed,
I took his hand and followed
Where his eager footsteps led.

Oh yes, we went adventuring,
My little son and I,
Exploring all the great outdoors
Beneath the summer sky.

We waded in a crystal stream,
We wandered through a wood.
My kitchen wasn’t swept today,
But life was sweet and good.

We found a cool sun-dappled glade
And now my small son knows
How Mother Bunny hides her nest
Where fern and larkspur grow.

We watched a robin feed her young,
We climbed a sunlit hill,
Saw cloud-sheep scamper through the sky;
We plucked a daffodil.

That my house was neglected,
That I didn’t sweep the stair,
In twenty years no one on earth
Will know or even care.

But that I’ve helped a little boy
To noble manhood grow,
In twenty years the whole wide world
May look and see and know.


I thought that poem was perfect for that photo from this week, and a nice one to start the weekend with!  We’re off to meet some old friends for the weekend and explore a city that’s new to us.  Have a wonderful weekend!



Filed under happy stuff

Easy Craft: Make Paint With Water Pages!

(Art by Victoria)

Here’s a super simple craft that’s fun for all ages.  Make paint with water pages!

Here’s how:

  1. Draw a picture with a permanent pen or dark crayon.  If you like, you can draw it in pencil first and then go over it with a dark permanent marker.
  2. Fill in sections of the picture with dots, lines, cross hatches or other designs with watercolor pencils.  Alternately, draw a line inside the marker lines with watercolor crayons (watercolor crayons are bolder and don’t require as much of a pattern to spread the color).  You don’t need to color the entire sections in — just a pattern or lines are fine.
  3. Paint each section with a wet paintbrush to reveal the color.

Note:  This is an example of “you get what you pay for.”  Cheap watercolor pencils are rather pitiful for this so if you get a chance to pay a couple of extra dollars for nicer ones then I’d recommend it!

You can tell in the art above which sections were drawn with the cheaper pencils and didn’t blend as well (like the stems and leaves), as opposed to the ones that turned into vivid paint (like the flower center and the pink petals).  All of the sections were basically colored in the same with just cross hatches, and good pencils will blend and disperse so the pattern virtually disappears.

You can find watercolor pencils and watercolor crayons (which are great fun!) at craft stores like Michael’s (look for 40% off coupons online to help cut the cost).

For younger kids, do the art up for them (write their names in big block letters, make flowers, etc.) and then do the patterns for them or have them color inside to make the patterns.  Then give them the paintbrushes and water so they can magically paint while you’re cooking supper or otherwise otherwise occupied nearby.

Happy Friday!

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When my girls were little, I sometimes came up with creative ways to occupy them when I was sick.  Between problem pregnancies and long-term illnesses, I spent a lot of time on the couch with little girls who were not the type to sit still and watch Sesame Street.

One of the ways I used to occupy them was to let them draw on the bottoms of my feet.  I’d give Victoria washable markers and she’d doodle halfway up my leg while I got to rest and not fall down or throw up for a little while.

(I still remember how idiotic I felt at the prenatal appointment when I stripped down and then realized I was decorated up to my knees in toddler art and had forgotten to wash it off!)

I still use the busywork trick.

Tuesday night, I really wanted to watch a television show.  My boys were bored so I sat Alex at the top of the couch with me and 25 Matchbox cars and Jack at the end of the couch with washable markers.

For a good twenty minutes, I lined up fire trucks and convertibles with one little boy while another enthusiastically decorated me.

On my right foot was a series of… well, I have no idea, but upside down they look a bit like a weird smiley face.  And on the left… I was orange.  Jack decided he wanted to make me an alien.

It worked.  I watched my show, the boys played and were happy (before moving on to the next busywork — even doing graffiti on Mom only works so long), and I’m pretty sure most of it was non-toxic.

And then today… I kept meaning to take a bath or jump in the shower but one thing after another happened.  And so I took a walk around the neighborhood with two little boys and decorated feet.  I drove to the lawnmower repair shop and rode along to the car repair shop to see about air conditioning.  I gardened and chased the kids outside.  I said “hi” to the passing teenagers.

All with these feet.

(Blue toenails courtesy of Annalee, who offered me a free spa treatment and pedicure the same night.)

My left foot kept scaring me throughout the day.  I’d forget about it all and then catch sight of that and think I’d missed some sort of terrible accident.

Even after I finally got that bath, my left foot is still pale orange.  And the brown heart appears to be permanent.  I’m surprisingly unconcerned, though.  It kind of makes me smile.

I can’t imagine what our townspeople must think of me.  🙂


Filed under the little stuff

Easy, Beautiful Suncatchers!

I am in love with this darling idea from tales from the corner house!  This is just white glue and bits of glass and plastic baubles.  Brilliant and beautiful!

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Good Stuff

Here’s a bit of the fun things that have been keeping my browser busy lately…

  • Get Your Craft On has instructions for the most darling faux jewelry shirts.  I doubt ours would be this fancy, but I’m sure my kiddos would love to make some!
  • Isn’t this the most fun idea ever?!!!!  It’s a rain drum umbrella.  I love it.  I also love all the comments about how nuts it would be to have banging about your head, but it makes me grin like crazy.  Yes, it would be crazy noisy, but parenthood is crazy noisy and that (mostly) makes me grin like crazy too.  🙂

  • I love this art project from Teacher Tom (that he got from My Montessori Journey).  It looks so creative, beautiful and fun!

  • Heidi Kenney of My Paper Crane has made this adorable little printable card to take with you to the supermarket so you can remember which produce is best and worst for pesticides.

(Though I personally try not to buy non-organic bananas or corn.  Ask if you want to know all the depressing reasons!)

  • And now, for something more cheerful…
  • Isn’t this adorable?  🙂  I love it.  Courtesy HopSkipJump.

What do you get when you cross a parrot with a centipede?
A walkie talkie!

What kind of animal goes OOM?
A cow walking backwards!

What happens when a frog’s car breaks down?
He gets toad away.

What do you get when you cross a porcupine
with a balloon?

How does Batman’s mother call him in for dinner?
Dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner Batman!

Why wasn’t Cinderella any good at soccer?
She kept running away from the ball!

You can find more at Activity Village

What’s keeping your browser busy these days?  Found any neat crafts or goodies?

Happy Tuesday!

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

I’m writing this armed with a box of kleenex and lots of hot tea, doing my best to defeat some spring bug that has waylaid half our household (and pretty much losing).  So I’ll get right to the good stuff!

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

1.  Build sand castles.

2.  Eat dinner with the good china, cloth napkins folded in fancy folds, candles and fancy glasses.   If you like, collect mix and match fancy dishes from garage sales and thrift stores so there’s no guilt if anything breaks.

3.  Do a messy paint craft.  You get messy too.  Revel in it!

4.  Head to an abandoned lot or field and pick all the dandelions that have gone to seed and blow them all together.

5.  Dance in the rain.

6.  Or try to catch it in your mouth!

7.  Declare a silly holiday, such as happy kisses day (every time you feel happy you have to grab a family member and give kisses), backwards clothes day, silly hat day and so on.

8.  Go beach combing.  Or park combing or empty lot combing….

9.  Paint a picture, do a design or write a message on your child’s ceiling with glow in the dark paint.

10. Get snazzy haircuts and send the hair to help with the oil spill.

Note: despite the grown up hairstyle, the presence of a chocolate ice cream mustache.  🙂

And with that, chickadees, I’m off to find more tea!

Have a wonderful week.

Thanks for being you!


Filed under Ways to make today magical

Fashion Choices

One of the things I love about children is their fashion bravery.  There is nothing quite as wonderful as taking a walk with a winged princess, a superhero or a small child wearing 18 separate patterns.

Here’s how my boys dressed for an evening stroll yesterday.

Note:  It was not raining.

I smiled the whole way.

I’m inspired to do a bit more fashion fun myself.  Perhaps sparkles or some crazy hats?  😉

Happy Sunday!


Filed under happy stuff

Dinner Conversations!

Apparently the link to the dinner conversation starters has been moved.  A couple of people asked about it and until I can find its new location or another set, I figured I’d just write up a list of my own.  🙂

Just highlight these and paste them into a word document, print and cut out.  Why not add some of your own with the kids too?

What’s something you did today that you’re proud of?

If you could be one animal in the zoo, what would you be?

What’s something funny that happened today?

What food would you be happy to never eat again?

Name someone you’ve helped recently.

Would you rather that schools stopped giving out any homework or stopped giving tests?

What’s something nice that happened today?

What do you wish you were better at?

Name three things you’re really good at.

Say something nice about the person to your left.

What famous person would you like to meet and why?

What time period would you visit if you could go back in time?

What do you wish you’d done more of today?

What would your superhero name be?

What movie or TV show would you like to be in?

If you were a food, what food would you be?

If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go?

There’s a good start.  Now you, dear readers, add some of your own in the comments!

Happy weekend!


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Happy Pics

I’m back!  Sorry to be gone so long and so quiet!  I promise to get back to sharing neat stuff tomorrow.  In the meantime, here’s a few pics of our week in Nebraska that make me smile.  🙂

Here’s to good friends, field trips, silly fun, English chocolate, dancing in the rain and finding everyday magic.  🙂

Happy Friday!

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Hello from Nebraska!  We’re down visiting magical mama Tiffany and her gang again.  I’m so sorry to be so scarce lately but here’s a few ways to make a bit of magic for the new week…

1.  Get a box of chalk pastels (cheap ones are $2 or $3 at arts and crafts stores) and draw on the sidewalk with the kids with those.  The colors are so much more vibrant and fun than with regular sidewalk chalk!

2.  Go visit a rock shop!  These fabulous places are educational and so full of treaures, often for next to nothing.  Look at agates, geodes, petrified wood, quartz, etc. and find out what’s in your area to find on your own too.

3.  Take the afternoon to stroll a historic downtown district, either of your own city or a city you haven’t explored.

4.  Go to the Farmers’ Market.  There’s a lot more than fresh produce at most of them these days!  The Lincoln one that we explored had everything from a children’s musician to Korean egg rolls to handmade toys to garden plants.  You support local families, get out in the sunshine and find wonderful treats!

5.  Get out the fondue pot or borrow one from a friend, and make fondue with the kids.  Dip bread cubes, strawberries, cubes of pound cake, etc. in delicious sauces.

6.  Get an assortment of flavored (real) chocolate and do a taste test!  Rate each one secretly and see which one is the winner!  (Note: the chili lime chocolate that we tested was amazingly unpopular and HOT!  It did get points for originality from me though!)

7.  Get clippings from plants from lots of loved ones, root them in water and start new plants in sweet little hand-painted pots.

8.  Go to a state or national park so the kids can take part in their ranger program and earn badges and such.

9.  Stay up way past bedtime playing games and being silly.

10.  Sing in the rain.  And dance.

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


Filed under Ways to make today magical