Monthly Archives: July 2011

Dear Baby…

Photo by Victoria Bayer

Dear Baby,

You should be here in a little over two months now.  This seems like the longest pregnancy in history, but there’s still so much to be done to prepare for you.  We thought we were all done with babies, after all, and our life is so crazy and chaotic even when there aren’t babies on the way.

I am having such fun feeling you get to know the world inside my belly.  I love your hiccups, your knocks, your flips and turns and random jabs.

I wonder sometimes what you must already think of us.  We are such a noisy family!  Day and night, you must hear the shrieks, shouts, teen and tween music, arguments, laughter, children’s shows, ball games, read-alouds, tears, talks and general mayhem.

One minute it’s Mama reading Mr. Popper’s Penguins, the next it’s a cackling four year-old, then it’s Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga and then a tear-filled tirade about LEGOs or terrible sisters.

It’s a far cry from the classical music and baby books that your grandmother once told me to play for my belly.

Baby, you are coming into a crazy life. 

It will be noisy.  It  will be messy.  It will be chaotic. 

And it will be fun.

You will be doted on by two big brothers, two big sisters and two tired parents, not to mention friends and family.  You will get messy kisses, silly presents and the world’s most diverse lullabies.

You will be loved.

I can’t promise as much classical music as your grandmother would have liked, but I can promise loads of love and silliness and people who will always fight over who gets to hold you next. 

You are thumping around in my belly right now, poking and flipping and doing some sort of general busyness.  You seem to be a busy little girl, which will probably suit you well in our family.

I can’t believe my luck in getting to do all of this again.  I can’t wait to met you, little one.  There are so many kisses waiting for you.

Prepare for a noisy but laughter-filled life. 

We love you.



Filed under This and that

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

We survived the heat of the last couple of weeks and I have hopes that it will get back down to a normal summer.  Baby has been making herself known big-time with lots of kicks, rolls, bounces and super-strength Braxton-Hicks contractions. 

This week also marks a special sort of anniversary for me.  This is the 100th list of ways to make the day magical since I switched from the newsletter of years ago to the blog!  Wow!  That’s a lot of yapping over the past few years!  🙂

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

1.  Climb a tree together and read a book or have a snack in it.

2.  Gather spent flower petals and make petal pictures.

3.  Take the kids on a Farmers’ Market scavenger hunt.

4.  Have a picnic in the back yard for breakfast.

5.  Make cupcakes and sprinkle the tops with pop rocks candies for a fun surprise when the kids bite into them.  We usually make all-natural goodies, but this is so fun I have been meaning to try it for some time now.  Some folks who have tried it are here and here.

6.  Check out your local chamber of commerce or tourist publications and find someplace in your area to visit for the first time.  Try a new park, museum, art gallery or restaurant together.

7.  Make up some flour paint and do squirt painting.

8.  Try to eat something really tricky for lunch or dinner with chopsticks.

9.  Start an “I love you” board together on the inside of your cupboard doors.  Cover them with contact paper for easy removal (and for keepsakes).  Take turns leaving notes to each other, artwork, recording special moments, etc.  Make sure little ones understand which places are okay for this special graffiti.

10. Stage a virtual talent show for a loved one.  Assemble costumes and props and then sing songs, put on clown acts, recite poems, tell jokes, do magic tricks, whatever and videotape it all.  Email it to a loved one who could use a smile (and save it for years later when you can all smile at the memory!).

And with that, I’m off in search of a nice cup of tea and some sort of magical spell to clean my kitchen.  And no, it never works but it’s fun to pretend!

Have a wonderful week!


Filed under Ways to make today magical

What’s Your Pirate Name?

The kids and I got a fun pirate book recently and inside was a chart to help you find your pirate name.  Unfortunately, their chart left us a bit flat (9 out of 10 names were for boy pirates, for instance!) so we came up with our own pirate name generator.

To find your pirate name:

Pick 3 numbers, each one ranging  from 1-10 (you can use the same number more than once).

If you’d like a boy pirate name, pick a number between 1-5 for the last number.

If you’d like a girl pirate name, choose a number between 6 and 10 for the last  number.

Then find the word that corresponds from each list:

First word:

  1. Big
  2. Long
  3. Blue
  4. Jolly
  5. Red
  6. Cold
  7. Green
  8. One
  9. Black
  10. Stump

Second word:

  1. Eye
  2. Boot
  3. Belly
  4. Bottom
  5. Leg
  6. Ear
  7. Mouth
  8. Tooth
  9. Lip
  10. Foot

Third word:

  1. Bob
  2. Willy
  3. Bart
  4. Bill
  5. Kid
  6. Ann
  7. Bonny
  8. Bess
  9. Gert
  10. Sue

For instance, if your child chose 147, She’d be Big Boot Bonny.  752 would be Green Leg Willy.  333 would be Blue Belly Bart.  And so on.

Feel free to make up your own lists too!


Filed under Silliness

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

I hope you and your kiddos are weathering the heat all right.  We’re wilting a bit here!

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

1.  Play water limbo.  Hold a hose lower and lower as kids try to limbo under it.  Alternately, play water hurdle and hold it higher and higher for them to jump!

2.  Play glow-in-the-dark bowling!  Put glowsticks in recycled water bottles with water.  Line them up on the driveway or sidewalk and roll a baseball at them.

3.  Have a robot day!  Katherine Marie has a ton of fabulous ideas to make it fun.




4.  Try to carry on tonight’s dinner conversation entirely in rhyme!

5.  Start a collage wall someplace that needs cheering up.  It can be part of a wall, the side of a dresser, inside a closet door, you name it.  Years ago, I made a collage of beautiful flowers and gardens on part of my bedroom wall during a very sad and dreary time.  I loved waking up to my paper garden instead of the gray outside!  I used rubber cement and it rubbed right off afterwards (check first with whatever you use!).  Kids can collage goals, funny pictures, animals, pictures of loved ones, you name it.

6.  Challenge the kids to make each other laugh as much as possible.  Try for all out belly laughs, snorts and the type of giggles where you can’t catch your breath.  If you can, catch it on tape to make you all laugh all over again later.

7.  Put glow in the dark ice cubes or rocks in the kiddie pool for some magical after-dark splashing.

8.  Start a parent-child journal.  Get a blank book and write a letter to your child on the first pages.  Leave it for her on her bed to write back.  Pass it back and forth until it’s full.

9.  Have some silly fun with altered grapes.

10. Interview your child on video about who he is right now — favorite foods, best friends, hobbies, etc.  Ask him to tell a joke, sing a song and otherwise really show off who he is at this age.  Save it in a safe place and try to do at least one a year. 

And with that, my sweets, I’m off in search of air conditioning!  Summer heat and pregnancy are not an easy mix without it, I’ve discovered!  🙂

Have a magical week!



Filed under Ways to make today magical

On the Banks of Plum Creek (Once More)

Long time readers probably know by now that my family lives near Walnut Grove of “Little House” fame and that my girls have acted in a local outdoor play (The Wilder Pageant) about the Ingalls family’s time in our area since they were little.

Anna started acting in the pageant when she was four years old!

And some of you may remember the drama around Victoria and her “crazy hat” last year (she’s wearing another crazy hat this year, much to the dismay of that same girl!).

The girls are now in their 7th year in the pageant, Daddy is in his sixth, and this year marks Jack’s first year in it.

Last night was opening night, so Alex and I headed out with Grandma and Grandpa to see the show.

Here’s a few pics of my wonderful actors and the show.  🙂

(Apologies for the terrible quality of the photos!  I was using Victoria’s fancy camera and I really only know how to point and shoot!)

Back stage

Before the show

Jack got a little distracted by seeing me and the audience (over a thousand!) at first but then got into the swing of things

The Ingalls Family arrives

Reverend Alden (my hubby) leads a prayer

Jack was just too quick in the potato sack race for me to capture him!

Victoria and Daddy (I mean Reverend Alden) help erect the church

Jack (in back) prepares to roll some hoops during the church raising

Trying to burn out the grasshoppers during the plague (thousands of oyster crackers are blown into the air as grasshoppers!)

Those rotten Oleson kids 😉

The reverend says a few words in the Christmas scene (Jack is on the far right, the girls are hidden from view)

The exciting fire scene!

In the second half, my hubby plays the mayor (at the first city meeting of Walnut Grove)

I wish I knew how to use Victoria's camera! Anna did Irish step dancing and was in the middle of the front (in blue)

Victoria (in green with the hat) dances with Laura during the town social

Jack dancing

Anna dancing (in blue)

Jack hanging out with the other boys during the adult dance

Jack and Anna stand with their families at the end, as Laura tells what became of each family (the Olesons moved to California and Willie was blinded playing with firecrackers)

Taking a bow

My actors on stage afterwards

And being silly...

Jack, Alex and a pageant buddy

Signing autogaphs and meeting the audience

It was a great start to the new season.  🙂


Filed under This and that

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Independence Day!  Or Happy Monday to those of you who aren’t in the states.  🙂

Here’s a few ways to make some fun memories this week…

1.  Use some tarps and a fan to make a walk-in bubble.  Toad Haven shows you how.

2.  Make red, white and blue play dough.  For extra fun, add glitter.

3.  Play in the dirt!  If you want some inspiration, hands on: as we grow has 30 fun things to do with it.


4.  Paint masterpieces on your toenails.  Boys too!

5.  Find out what your ninja names are.

6.  Write a family letter to someone who could use cheering up.  Make sure everybody writes at least a paragraph or contributes a picture.

7.  Do the 30 Day Photography Challenge together or make up your own.

8.  Find an old ugly piece of furniture and paint it together (or pick one for each child).  Encourage the kids to be as creative as possible.  Add symbols, poetry, anything you want!  Have them date and sign them.

9.  Go to the beach and find “bones” to play archeologists.  You can find sticks, fish bones, driftwood or even crab claws.  You can boil them at home in some water with a splash of bleach to disinfect them.  Then help the kids build a creature by putting all the parts together!  You may need to be creative with holding it all together, like wiring parts on while the glue dries or winding twine or electrical tape around parts to hold them together.  Let your child name his newfound creature and make up a whole lifestyle for it!  What did it eat?  How old did it get?  Were its babies hatched out of eggs or born?  What animals preyed on it?  Where did it live?  Compare it to other animals as you go, and you’ll sneak in lots of learning.  😉

10. Make some stuffed monsters.  Just freehand draw a simple monster shape on unwanted fabric (stained t-shirts and sheets are great!) and stuff with batting from old pillows or purchased fluff.  You can hand sew them shut or use the machine.  Here’s one Victoria made up…

And with that, I’m off to make colorful playdough and bake some clay mushrooms that the kids made last night.   And okay, clean a little too.  No rest for the wicked!  Or the messy.  😉

Have a safe and happy Independence Day!








Filed under Ways to make today magical