Monthly Archives: June 2011

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

The Never-Ending Parent

You may have noticed that Monday came and went without a list of ways to make the day magical this week. 

It’s been one of those weeks.

You’re on your own!  😉

But in the meantime, I came across this tidbit that I wrote in the Magical Childhood newsletter years ago.  It was written half to a friend who was stressed out as a mom and half as a reminder to myself.

It helps me keep things in perspective.

The Never-Ending Parent

Sometimes it’s hard to be a good parent.
Sometimes you wonder why you’re not like others
Who make themselves the priority, who are stern and unyielding
Or who let everybody else take care of their kids.
Sometimes you envy them their time, their space,
Their full night’s sleep.

Sometimes you start doubting yourself and wondering
If you really are just crazy, being this kind of parent
In this kind of world.

Your house is noisy and full of chaos
And you wonder if it will last forever.

I have a secret.  If you keep this up….
It will.

Think of it.

When you get up at 3 a.m. because your baby cries, think of the time
When he’s a teenager and calls at 3 a.m. to say he needs a ride
Instead of getting in the car with his drunk friends
Because he knows he can be honest with you and that he can count on you.

When you take the time to explain “why” for the hundredth time today
Wondering if you will ever get a moment’s peace and quiet,
Think of the days when your daughter is grown and on her own
And will still call because she loves your conversations.

When you discount all the well-meaning people who tell you to let your baby cry
And you go to him, hold him, comfort him anyway
Think ahead to the times when he’ll be a strong, secure, independent kid
And those people say “I don’t know how you were blessed with such an easy child.”

When you nurse your daughter and hold her close
Spoiling her with all that love and care, think of the time
When you’ll overhear her tell a friend
“My mom and I have always been so close.”

When the house is full of noise, mess and chaos
Think of the days when the kids are grown, and it will start all over
With your grandchildren, because your family is so bonded
That everybody still gathers at your loving home.

No, if you keep this up it will never change.
Your children will be in your life forever.
And honey, you’ll love the noise.

~ Alicia Bayer

Happy Thursday!  I’ll be back with some fun soon!


Filed under the big stuff