Monthly Archives: September 2011

Quick Bath Fun

Here’s a simple way to make baths a little more fun (and colorful!).

Freeze some colored water in muffin tins or other medium sized containers, and then add a few to the kids’ baths when you want to make things a little more interesting.

They melt pretty fast but it sure is fun while they do!




Filed under activities, crafts

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

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

1.  Make a squirt gun carnival game in the back yard.  Martha Stewart recommends setting up ping pong balls on golf tees as targets.

2.  Have the kids write up a little message about your family and fold it up and tuck it behind the light switch or under the carpeting for someone to find years from now.

3.  Totally doll up the dining room table for supper tonight.  Gather leaves to scatter on the tablecloth, make an arrangement of cut twigs, flowers or grasses.  Use pine cones, candles, acorns or treasures from around the house to make it a work of art.

4.  Make up some batches of play dough with natural dyes.  It’s great fun to experiment to make your own colors.  Here’s our recipe.

5.  Try circus tricks together.  See if you can juggle, balance a ball on your nose or walk a “tightrope” on the floor.

6.  Make your child a thank you card for being so wonderful.

7.  Make an Angry Bird game with homemade pom poms, dixie cups and google eyes!  Make and Takes has the simple instructions.

8.  Make poetry stones.  Gather up a bunch of small rocks and use a marker to write words on them.  Make sure to use adjectives, nouns and verbs.  For example…. I, you, we, love, wet, dogs, jumped, lick, stars…. the more words you make the more variety you can get in your poem.  Drop the rocks in a bucket, shake, and grab a handful to arrange into each line.  Make sure to add some funny words!

9.  Print out some sophisticated patterned coloring pages and color with your child (these ones from Patterns for Colouring are even fun for the big ones!).

10.  Tell the kids that today is hundred kisses day.  Pick a sound, and every time you hear that sound all day you have to drop what you’re doing and find your kids and give them 20 kisses loudly on their heads, bellies, knees or whatever you can grab.  At the end of the day if you haven’t heard the sound enough times to equal 100 you have to finish all the hundred kisses.  You can pick a word too– for instance any time anybody on TV says car then you give kisses.

And with that, chickadees, I’m off to give some noisy kisses of my own!  Have a magical week!


Filed under Ways to make today magical

Watermelon Playdough!

Here’s a fun craft that we’ve been making for a few years now — watermelon playdough. 

This is a craft that is great for Sensory Integration work (with the bumps, the scent, the squishing and the warmth when you first make it) and it’s just plain fun.


1.  Save watermelon seeds, rinse and bake until dried and slightly darkened.  We do this since it’s supposed to keep birdseed from sprouting and we don’t want sprouted seeds in our playdough.  You can also just use black pony beads or leave the seeds as is.

2.  Mix 1 cup flour, ½ cup salt, 1 cup water, 2 Tablespoons oil, 2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar and 1 (3 ½ ounce) package watermelon jello in a saucepan.  We didn’t have watermelon flavor (I never buy jello but people always seem to give me enough that I have a perpetual stash for crafts) so we used strawberry.  Any red variety will give you the right color, though it might smell a bit different.  Koolaid should also work.

3.  Cook over medium heat until it thickens into a ball that pulls away from the side of the pan, stirring constantly (about 5 minutes).

4.  Dump onto a floured surface and cool until you can touch it.  Dump watermelon seeds on and knead well.

5.  Play!  Store in an airtight container.  We keep ours in a ziplock bag in the fridge and it lasts a very long time.


Note:  This won’t taste good since there’s no sugar but it’s nontoxic in case anybody tries to lick it!  ;)


Filed under crafts

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Someday!

Note:  I started this post on Monday, but thanks to an autumn cold, a doctor’s appointment, an irritable uterus, a washing machine with a temper tantrum and various other roadblocks it got more than a bit delayed!   I’m now working on it on Tuesday night and it may well be Wednesday before I finish up and hit publish.  Whatever day this reaches you, I hope it’s a happy one!  😉

We had a fabulous little mini-vacation last week.  It was great fun and absolutely beautiful, but I keep forgetting that I’m 8 months pregnant and overdoing things.  The baby let me know over the weekend that there are consequences to all that hiking, swimming and gallavanting!

I saw the doctor today and all is still going great.  We have three weeks until we meet our little one (it’s a scheduled C-section, which is my only option).

Enough about me though!

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

1.  Print out this free disguise kit for the kids from Design House Digital.  Be sure to take lots of pictures!

2.  Sit down with your kids and make up lists of 10 or 20 things you each love about special people in your lives.  You can write the lists for kids who aren’t writing yet, but keep it in their words and have them add some decorations.  Then mail them out or take a picture and email them to brighten their day.

3.  Bake a cake, just because.  Add candles to each piece and let the kids make wishes and blow them out again and again!

4.  Get an old flour sifter from a thrift store, cut some templates and let the kids sift shapes onto the lawn or sidewalk with flour.  Pink and Green Mama has the simple instructions.

5.  Go apple picking (at an orchard or the back yard of a generous friend or family member!) and then make all sorts of goodies from your bounty.  Try bobbing for apples too.  It’s harder than you think!

6. Go on a puddle hunt.  Head outside together and go looking for puddles to throw things into, stomp in, investigate and otherwise explore.  On the right day, nothing is more magical to a small child than unlimited time spent with a good mud puddle!

7.  Make some glow in the dark playdough!  Sun Hats and Wellie Boots tells you how.

8.  Gather a box full of odds and ends from around the house for the kids to create robots, sculptures, inventions or other nifties with.  Possibilities include parts of broken toys, lids, hardware, chopsticks, items from the recycling bin, tin foil, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, sticks, bolts, washers, you name it.  Include wire, sturdy tape and a glue gun (with supervision) to help put everything together.

9. Have a Ten Good Deeds Day.  Each family member picks 10 things to do for others (strangers or loved ones) and writes them down.  When the last one is done, everybody celebrates with a little group reward.  Try to log the good deeds in a special place so you can look back on them later.

10.  Have a balloon day with crafts, activities and silliness.

And with that, my dears, I’d better hit publish quickly before it’s January and I haven’t gotten this out yet! 

Have a magical week!





Filed under Ways to make today magical

Do What You Love…

“Use the talents you possess,
for the woods would be very silent
if no birds sang except the best.”

~ Henry Van Dyke


Filed under quotes

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

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

1.  Head to a park or other picturesque area with a digital camera and challenge the kids to take turns taking artistic pictures of each other.  Whoever has the camera gets to play photographer and the others get to model, and then switch off.  See what kind of fun shots you can get!

(Photo by Victoria Bayer)

2.  Go play mini golf together.  No mini golf course nearby or short on money?  Make a course yourself in the back yard or even living room with whatever fun props you can dream up!

 3.  Make up a few batches of colorful playdough (or buy some!) and then play with it in a new way.  Here’s 34 creative ways to do it from hands on: as we grow.



4.  Have watermelon for dessert and have a seed spitting contest in the back yard.

5.  Microwave a half a bar of Ivory Soap and see what happens! Chemistry tells how to do it and the science behind the magic.

6.  Buy or find some prisms or crystal-like beads and string them on the ends of ribbons to hang from your child’s curtain rod (out of reach of little fingers) so they’ll catch the sunlight and fill the room with mini-rainbows when the sun hits them each day.

7.  Take a slow walk.  If you have little ones, you know that their walks are typically slightly slower than a snail’s pace.  Take a meandering walk and plan to stop at mud puddles, interesting flowers, spider webs, you name it.  Take apart mushrooms or dandelions to look at their middles, toss rocks in puddles, watch ants carrying off crumbs and otherwise take the time to see the world through a child’s eyes together.

8.  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.  Be as loud a you want!

9.  Go explore something together. 

10.  Get out a variety of colors of nail polish (or just washable markers!) and paint masterpieces on each other’s toenails.  Sprinkle glitter on top before they dry to really jazz them up!

I’ll close with some advice I gave in the Magical Childhood newsletter over 10 years ago.  It’s still true today!

This week, take time every day to do something for yourself.  Take a bubble bath after the kids are asleep.  Take a 5 minute break at work and savor some fantastic chocolate.  Treat yourself to a new pair of earrings.  Ask your honey for a neck rub (and give one back!).  Read a story that always makes you smile.  Call a friend.  Remember that you can’t give to others when you’re empty.  Martyrs are not magical.  😉

Have a wonderful week!


Filed under Ways to make today magical

Good Signs

I love a good sign.  I keep wanting to paint up some fun ones around the house with the kids.  Being this pregnant with this many things I really ought to be doing more than making signs, I haven’t quite gotten to it yet. 

Somehow before the baby comes, I really want to make a sign or two around the house, though.

Here’s my current three favorites (click on the images to go to the original sources)…

I think I’ll invite the kids to help me think up some original signs of our own too.

Though judging by the time of night I’m writing this, perhaps I ought to start with one that says “Go to sleep.”  🙂 

Have a happy Friday!



Filed under happy stuff

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Wednesday!

We had a wonderful time in Iowa and Southeast Minnesota.  The kids got to explore caves (Victoria is hooked, the others liked some of them but found some of them scary, and I found out that Niagara Cave is a really bad idea at 8 months pregnant!), we judged salsa and tasted heirloom tomatoes and made ketchup at Seed Savers, we visited goat farms and much more.  It’s still great to be home though.  I tire out easily these days!

Enough of my yapping!  Better late than never —  Here’s a few ways to make some magic with your kiddos this week…

1.  Go to another town and on the way make up totally different identities for yourselves.  All day, call yourselves by your fake names and play along with your alternate life.  Encourage the kids to really get creative for eavesdroppers.

2.  Get some teacups, railings and glue or caulk and make up some teacup bird feeders like Rockie did at Something Wonderful.  If you like, have the kids mix and match patterns or paint the outsides of the teacups with a whimsical pattern to personalize them.  Then see who visits!

3.  Take apart a bunch of old jewelry and try to make a new artistic creation together.

4. Make magnetic googly eyes and decorate metallic surfaces in your house with them.  I love this idea from Play Create Explore!!!!  🙂  Just be careful with very little children and choking hazards, naturally.

5.  Make up a journal prompt jar and give your child a blank book to use.  Fill the jar with hand written prompts to journal about or print out these free ones from Organized Christmas.  If you like, make it into a “Mom and me” (or “Dad and me” or “Grandma and me”…) and have the book be a joint project where you each write your answers for each question.

6.  Build something out of supper!  Create a landscape, for instance, with a big mountain of mashed potatoes surrounded by broccoli forests and a log cabin fish stick house.  Let kids cut your creation like a cake and eat their favorite parts.

7.  Tape red streamers to a hallway wall and make a laser area for kids to try to crawl through (without touching and setting off alarms!) like spies or jewel thieves.  Chicken Babies has instructions (plus tons more fun spy party ideas!).

8.  Write and mail letters to yourselves.

9.  Have dinner with all conversations in pig latin, in rhyme, in song or in the form of questions!

10.  Take your child someplace beautiful.  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.

And with that, my dears, I’m off to help make garden catalog mailing envelopes and pretend I know what I’m making for supper.

Kiss your babies, count your blessings, and don’t forget to take care of you!


Filed under Ways to make today magical