Monthly Archives: June 2011

It’s a….

We had our ultrasound yesterday and found out a little more about our newest little one.

It’s a girl!!!!

Everything looked good and we got to see her brain, bladder, spine and more.  She was very active (which is typical, I can assure you!) and also kept opening her mouth so it looks like we’re going to have another little talker.

I still have a long way to go (we’re looking at early October) but it’s very exciting to know a little more about our newest family member.

Happy Tuesday!



Filed under happy stuff

Making the Day Magical

My computer is on its last legs and it makes it very hard to blog (I can’t see what I’m typing as I type this!). 

AND we are going in this afternoon (all 6 of us!) to have an ultrasound and hopefully find out more about our little newcomer.

Tomorrow I will hopefully be able to blog in pink or blue!

So you’re on your own for coming up with ways to make the day magical!

Katherine Marie has some fun ideas here, though, and you get extra points if you leave some of your own in the comments!

Wish us luck!




Filed under neat stuff elsewhere

Five Fun Things

There’s been so much fun stuff catching my eye on the web lately.  Here’s some favorites you might like….

1.  Things I want to teach my children everyday:  Steph from Modern Parents Messy Kids has a great post and free printable at Bloom

2.  Dress-up wings, courtesy of Little Eco Footprints

3.  And dinosaur wings, courtesy of I’m Feeling Crafty

4.  We made our own pool noodle race track yesterday after being inspired by Home Spun Threads.  Alex loved shooting marbles down it but it turns out that one of our nutty cats had as much fun “wrestling” it when we weren’t looking and shredded it! 

5.  Lastly, recycled robots (think metallic Mr. Potato Heads) from Family Fun

And with that, I’m off to tackle a to-do list as long as the city phone book.  (Yes, magical moments are on the list!)

Wish me luck!







Filed under crafts, neat stuff elsewhere, printables

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday?!

Okay, so I’m a little late, but better late than never, right?  🙂

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

1.  During the night, decorate the living room with streamers and a big sign that says “Happy _____ Day!” (marmot day, random day, I love you day, blueberry day…)  Make up traditions for the day together– you must wear purple, it’s traditional to eat ice cream for breakfast, whatever.

2.  Teach the kids to whistle with blades of grass and stage your own backyard grass concert together.

3.  Play with water balloons.  Get creative with how to throw them.  For instance, we like to throw them straight up and try to be as close as possible to where they land.  We also like to make targets and try to catch them without breaking them.

4.  Make a love box.  Find a fun, small box and put a treat inside.  Leave it on someone’s pillow, at their seat at the dinner table or in a lunch box.  The person has to put something in it and pass it on to another family member.  Ideas for treats– a chocolate, a tiny toy, a poem, a drawing, a love letter, a fresh flower, a list of things you love about the person, a coupon for a back rub… 

5.  Make squirt gun art.  Give the kids each a piece of poster board and some washable markers and ask them to use lots of colors and make a design all over the posterboard.  They can do lines, colored circles, patterns, whatever.  The more color the better!  Hang them on the clothes line or prop them up in the back yard and give each child a squirt gun filled with water.  Have them squirt their pictures to make the ink run and make new designs, colors and patterns.

6.  Visit a museum together.


7.  Let the kids camp out in the back yard or living room.  Better yet, join them.  Don’t forget the campfire songs!

8.  Fade some clothes.  Let each child pick a dark or bright colored T-shirt and gather an assortment or rocks or other small, heavy shapes.  Have the kids arrange their shapes on the T-shirts in a sunny place where they can remain undisturbed for a few days.  Have them check their shirts every few days until they have faded enough to make the pattern really visible. 

9.  Go strawberry picking.

10. Throw a theme potluck– everyone must bring a dish that starts with A, has exactly 3 ingredients or is a certain color, for example.  If you don’t want to have to clean first, stage it at a park.

And with that, chickadees, I’m off in search of a bowl of ice cream with my name on it.  😉 

Hug your kiddos, count your blessings, and don’t forget to take care of you!



Filed under Ways to make today magical

On Finding Balance and Letting Things Go

Letting small children plant 60 marigolds will test your limits of perfectionism and impatience!

Magical Mama Esther wrote recently and asked:

I would love to see you comment on being able to let things go. I regularly read your blog because I want more magic in our home. But I just can’t let the cleaning/organizing off of the front burner. I want my children to remember a fun, relaxed home, but I am afraid that they will mainly remember Mom always wanting the house to be clean. Any suggestions?

Good question!

I’m not sure I’m the one to ask, as I tend to have the opposite problem.  I am too good at letting the housework go while having fun!  🙂 

Whether you’re trying to get more done, let more go, or otherwise change how you’re spending your time at home, here’s some things that can help:

  1. Make lists.  Lists keep me on track for getting writing done, keeping up with housework, doing laundry, prepping meals and so on, but they also keep me on track with kid things.  My lists almost always have entries like “One-on-one with Jack” and “Read to Alex.”  Those items are just as important (or more so!) and putting them in writing helps us  remember that.
  2. Start a record.  When you know you’re recording the day-to-day things, it makes you a little more accountable.  Find a way to start noting the special things you do in the day (or whatever else you’re working on improving).  You can start blogging magical moments, check in on a parenting list, jot things down in a journal or even resolve to write at least one happy family memory on a daily calendar each day.  Knowing that you’ll be checking in is a great reminder to fit that special time in.
  3. Talk to yourself as if you’ve already changed.  I use this little trick on myself to get myself doing more housework sometimes.  I’ll purposely repeat things in my head that I want to be true, such as “I just can’t pass a mess without cleaning it right away” or “When I’m antsy I always have to tidy something.”  Neither of these are typically true in the least for me, but when I start to hear them in my head I do start to live by them!  Say the things you want to be true often enough, and they will become a part of how you are.  If you want to make more magical moments with your kids, some good thoughts to insert might be ones like, “Today’s too nice of a day to spend inside cleaning!” and “I can’t wait to do some silly crafts with the kids!”.
  4. Pretend your someday self is watching.  Will you one day regret spending so much time on housework and missing out on those magical moments with the kids?  Then get in the habit of seeing scenes from that far-from-now self who’d be beating you up for missing your chances.  This is also a good way to get past annoyances a lot of the time.  I often look at the present as if I’m looking back on it and see how I’d react, and the answer is laughter, patience or empathy far more often than it’s anger if I look at it with that distance.  Some day, this moment will be a memory.  What kind of a memory would you like it to be?  What lesson will it have taught you or your children?
  5. Practice.  Whether it’s being silly, tidying up or taking time to make things special, the more you do it the more naturally it comes.  Never mind the times you didn’t do what you wished you had — every time you do is something to celebrate.  And then do it again.

One of the wonderful things about parenting is that we get so many thousands of chances to do it right every day.  Every minute is a new minute where we could do something fun, silly, messy, loving or special.  Don’t focus on what’s missing, just fill the next minute with something wonderful.

What about you?  If you have tricks to help you keep up with all that you want to, please add them in the comments!


Filed under the little stuff

Just for Ewe

You know I love sheep, and I know some of you share my fondness for the wooly critters. Here’s a round-up of fun sheep projects from around the web.  🙂

Sheep crackers

Aren’t these brilliant?  This particular recipe is gluten free but you could also use a traditional cracker recipe or use the same idea for some cookies.

Clay sheep

There are no written instructions to go along with this Tumblr tutorial, but it looks easy enough to follow.  You could also do this with a simple salt dough and then bake and paint it.

Sheep handprint

This is a sweet little kids’ craft that would be easy for even the little ones.

Sheep cupcakes

Not only are these little things darling, but they’re super easy to make too.  Powdered donuts, pretzel sticks and a few other doo-dads are all they take.   I think the cupcake parts are sort of optional too!

More sheep cupcakes

These don’t come with instructions, but they look pretty easy to do.

Edible sheep sculptures

These little cuties are held together with melted white chocolate.

Sheep sandwiches

To balance out the junk food!

Cotton ball sheep

More easy fun.

Also see this old post where I rounded up some other sheep fun.

And in other news… we all piled in to the doctor’s office yesterday for another prenatal visit.  We listened to the baby’s heartbeat and I finally got an ultrasound scheduled.  Hopefully we’ll know in two weeks whether we’re having a boy or a girl.  With two girls and two boys right now, we’re all curious to see who’s going to have the numbers!

Here’s another belly shot by resident photographer Victoria. 


I’m going to be huge by September.  🙂

And with that, I’m off to wrangle my kitchen into some semblance of order. 

Do note that I refrained from a single sheep pun in signing off!  Do you know how hard that was?!  🙂







Filed under neat stuff elsewhere

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

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

1.  Have the kids play dress up in their most fanciful clothes and then go on an evening walk around the neighborhood.

2.  Start a snail habitat.  Magical Mama Jen shared this sweet idea years ago for the Magical Childhood newsletter…

I have always loved snails, and while out with Sage a month or so ago, we were looking at snails and how they have 2 sets of antennae, etc…and I thought…why not bring them IN?  Soooo….I searched on the internet to see what snails need to be able ot survive indoors.  All you need is a large container with air holes (of course, lol)  In the bottom, place about an inch of gravel…then a couple inches of soil on top of that.  Place some “greenery” from outside in there…it will root and grow very well….also, give them a rock to play on, lol, and lean a stick in there…..a good idea is to place some moss on some of the soil to help retain moisture for them.  They eat fruit and veggie scraps…..ours love carrot and cucumber, but do NOT like cantaloupe or celery.  It’s been quite educational for us to have them…as well and fun…you can see their mouths open up, they have a row of teeth called a Radula that they rub on food to eat it..very neat to see their open mouths as they stick to the container.  :o)

You should mist their habitat every day or so, keeping their home moist, but not overly so.  Also…the chlorine in water is bad for them, so either leave a container of water open outside for a couple days to let the chlorine evaporate, or boil water for about 10 minutes. (lid off)

You should also clean out their home every week or so…and a tip that I saw on one web site was to put their food on a little piece of wood, or something to that effect, so once it starts to get a little “icky”, you can just take the wood out and rinse it off….much easier than digging around in there with your hands to remove the left overs.

Hope that helps some…if you need more info, try typing “snail habitat” in a search engine….

3.  Go for a walk in the rain with your child.  Umbrellas optional.

4.  Have a bubble relay outside– players blow or carry their bubbles from person to person and start over if they pop.  Alternately, blow a bubble and see if you can work as a team to blow it across a finish line.

5.  Help the kids make these pretty pens from strips of their art or favorite scrapbooking papers.  Chocolate on my Cranium has the super easy instructions.  These could also make sweet gifts for Father’s Day.

6.  Make up a miniature golf course in the backyard or living room.

7.  Throw a fairy party.

8.  Find a patch of clover and find four leaf clovers.  My kids find dozens.  To preserve them, press them between a small, folded piece of waxed paper in a heavy book.

9.  Find some whimsical stickers and help the kids scatter them around the house in half-secret places.  We once used a sheet of dragonfly rub-ons this way and it was so fun to happen upon them.  You can put them inside a dresser drawer or cabinet drawer, on baseboards or mirrors, anywhere.  Make sure they’re removable if you don’t want permanent whimsy!

10.  Make tissue paper resist prints.  The Frugal Family Fun Blog tells you how.

And with that, chickadees, I’m off to pretend to be productive before my doctor’s appointment.  Hopefully we’ll get an ultrasound date this time and we can try to find out a little more about our jumping bean!

Have a magical week!


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Filed under Ways to make today magical

I Love…

  • Kid-painted $1 bird houses
  • Carousels
  • Antique croquet sets
  • Tree houses
  • Summer science experiments
  • Outdoor museums
  • Kids gardening
  • Roses blooming for the first time of the season
  • Wooden playlands
  • Brotherly love
  • Doing art outside
  • Fresh lettuce from the garden
  • Good friends
  • Wacky glasses

Oh yes, and belly kisses!

photo by Victoria Bayer

It’s National Get Outdoor Day today (Saturday) so if you’re in the states, head out with your kiddos.  There’s all sorts of free opportunities at state parks and more.

Happy Weekend!


Filed under happy stuff

20 Children’s Books That Are a Joy to Read Aloud

There are a million reasons why we read to our children.  The best books contain wonderful art, engaging stories, rich vocabulary and something that just makes kids (and their grown ups) feel good.  They also are the kind of book you don’t mind reading again and again to your kiddos. 

Here’s 20 books that we return to over and over because they do that for us.  🙂 

(Note: I haven’t separated these into age levels because I really think great books transcend age and families often read together.  The majority are picture books.  I’ll post a list of recommended chapter books for older kids soon.)

  1. A Fairy Went A-Marketing (a must own, as far as I’m concerned!)
  2. Miss Rumphius
  3. Kiss the Cow
  4. There’s a Nightmare in My Closet
  5. Mama, Do You Love Me?
  6. Please Baby Please
  7. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
  8. Hop on Pop (my favorite for helping reading “click” for kids)
  9. More! More! More! Said the Baby
  10. Anything (Pooh or poetry) by A.A. Milne
  11. The Napping House
  12. Jamberry
  13. There’s a Frog in the Bog
  14. Anything by Sandra Boynton (but especially “But Not the Hippopotamus”)
  15. Where the Wild Things Are
  16. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
  17. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
  18. Silly Sally
  19. Big Momma Makes the World
  20. Do’s and Don’ts (and others by Todd Parr)

This is just a drop in the bucket in terms of our favorites, and mostly off the top of my head.  I’m sure I’ll think of 20 more that should have been on the list as soon as I hit post!

Want to share your favorite read-alouds?  Please add them in the comments!


Filed under Book Recommendations

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

Here’s a few ways to make some magic this week….

1.  Make up some fizzing sidewalk chalk.  Quirky Momma has all the details on how to take homemade sidewalk chalk paint to the next level.  This is definitely on our to-do list this week!

2.  Put birthday candles in each child’s dinner tonight.  It doesn’t matter if dinner is sandwiches and it’s 9 months from their birthdays, kids just love blowing out candles and feeling special.  🙂

3.  Go someplace beautiful together.  Is there a hill outside of the city where you can park and watch the lights below?  A Japanese garden with peaceful spots to relax?  Find someplace beautiful and just sit and talk.  Bring a treat like a bag of fresh chocolate chip cookies or old fashioned root beer in bottles, and just unwind together.

4.  Try painting on salt.  Tot School has the simple directions.

5. That idea was inspired by one on A Bit of This and a Bit of That.  For another of their whimsical projects, try salt chalk painting.

6.  Have a jam session.  Gather up instruments and make your own by filling tins with pennies and getting pots to bang on.  Find as many different types as you can, and then sit everybody down on the floor.  Have someone start with a back beat and then one by one join in.  We started a retreat with this when I was on the board of a state organization, and it was a hoot even for a room full of us old folks.  😉  Be as loud a you want!

7.  Make homemade popsicles.  We use fruit juice and sometimes freeze different flavors and colors in layers to make them especially fun.

8.  Do some spring window art.  Fingerpaint & Superheroes shows you how.

9.  Pick out some older clothes and let the kids decorate them with markers.  You can use washable markers (keep in mind that not all might wash out) and let kids make new designs each time, or you can use permanent ones.  Fabric markers can add special highlights too.  Here’s my girls years ago in some home-designed patterns.  🙂

10.  Get out a small kiddie pool and fill it with something interesting.  Here’s 21 possibilities.

And with that, my dears, I’m off again.  Today I get to bring my oldest baby (13 year old Victoria) home from a week’s vacation with friends.  I can’t wait to see her again! 

Hug your kiddos, count your blessings and don’t forget to take care of you!



Filed under Ways to make today magical