Monthly Archives: November 2011

Play With Silk!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Here’s a totally random little way to have some fun with your kids and create something really calming and beautiful (sometimes you need that during this time of year!).

At Silk, you just click your mouse and drag, then watch the artwork created.  It all looks like silk blowing in the breeze. You can try writing in cursive, swoop the mouse around and experiment with different effects.


Have a wonderful weekend!




Filed under neat stuff elsewhere

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

I hope everything is going wonderfully in your neck of the woods. 

Things are pretty good here.  Fiona turned 6 weeks old today and she’s growing like crazy.  We all have fun getting her to smile and taking turns cuddling her.  The older kids have all been busy with new friends, old friends, out of town visits, crafts, reading, learning and keeping their dad and I on our toes.  🙂

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

1.  Have a Pinterest week challenge.  If you’re on Pinterest, you know that there are always oodles of fun crafts, recipes and projects to pin.  The problem is that it’s easy to spend all of your time pinning and no time actually doing the crafts, recipes and projects!  Last week, I challenged myself to do at least one “pin” every day.  So far, I’ve discovered a half dozen new recipes that are keepers, played fun art games with my kids and found some printables the kids really liked.  (Here’s my boards, where you’re likely to find lots of things I’ve pinned to include in 10 ways to make the day magical lists!)

2.  Give the kids some paint pens and let them alter some of your spice bottles with magical or crazy names.  Basil can become fairy grass or peppercorns can become eye of newt.  Let the kids’ imaginations run wild!  We did this a few years ago and it was so fun to open the cupboards and find our renamed containers! 

(I searched all over for some pictures I had of ours from way back and couldn’t find them.  I guess it’s a sign we need to do it again!)

3.  Leave elf footprints around the house.  Cut tiny, pointed shoe prints out of a piece of sponge and dip them in a plate of flour or a bowl of homemade mud (depending on your floor surface!).  Stamp a trail in some random places around the house– up on a windowsill, over by the children’s toys, leading to the fridge… all the places an elf would visit.

4.  Gather up some unwanted Barbies (or pick some up for next to nothing at a thrift store) and have a Project Runway or Lady Gaga fashion challenge with them.  Do crazy hairstyles, make the wackiest clothes imaginable and so on. 

5.  Make some favorite nursery rhymes or songs into Mad Libs, such as:

Hey diddle diddle, the (animal) and the (musical instrument)
The (farm animal) jumped over the (noun)
The (adjective) (noun) (verb, past tense)
To see such (noun)
And the (noun) ran away with the (noun) 

Older kids?  Turn some modern rock or pop songs into mad libs and then make a video of the kids singing the new versions!

6.  Give your kids laundry basket rides in the kitchen or down the hallway.  Put a pillow in the bottom, plop a child in and then push, pull and spin it around to your little one’s delight.  You can thread a jumprope or scarf through some holes or the handle to make it easier to pull.  Kids can give each other rides too (and the pulling is great exercise to expend some of that extra energy!).

7.  Make a cave!  Lagniappe Academy has more info on this fun and simple idea.

8.  Have the kids draw with markers or crayons just using their feet.  It may help to tape down the paper on the floor.

9.  Tape a length of ribbon at net level, blow up a balloon, and have a family game of volleyball inside.

10. Mix washable tempera paint with a little dish soap and paint winter or holiday scenes on the windows.  For little ones, cut sponges into holiday shapes like trees, ornaments, dreidels and bells and let them stamp the paint on.  It’ll wash right off with water and a sponge later.  To make clean-up easier, you can decorate the outside of the windows, though it won’t be waterproof, of course. 


And with that, I’m off to tackle a to-do list longer than my leg (though truth be told, I’m really short so that’s not saying a lot). 

Have a magical week!


Filed under Ways to make today magical

Build Your Wild Self!

The New York Zoos and Aquarium and the Wildlife Conservation Society have created a fabulously fun site!

Build Your Wild Self lets kids build themselves with all sorts of animal parts, while learning about animals along the way.

Customize your creation with your own hair, eyes and features, and then add elephant ears, monarch wings and so on, or create random funny characters.  You can even create your friends and family as wacky animals!



Filed under neat stuff elsewhere

Painted Soap Clouds

Painted soap clouds (A Magical Childhood)

Remember when I recommended microwaving a half a bar of Ivory soap as a way to make the day magical a couple of months ago? 

We took it a step farther and had the most fun! 

We microwaved the soap for about 30 seconds (set your microwave for about a minute and just stop it when the soap stops expanding) and watched it puff up.

Then I gave the kids muffin tins filled with colored water (we used water and food coloring but you could also use liquid watercolors) and eyedroppers. 

They had so much fun! 

I highly recommend it!


Filed under activities, crafts

Be Kind

Five year-old Sophia has the ticket.  🙂


Filed under videos

Easy Velcro Blocks

Here’s a fun and inexpensive way to make some neat building blocks for little ones.

Our fabulous friend Jan, a local Head Start teacher, came up with this idea. She purchased a couple of $1 bags of foam blocks from Target and then purchased some adhesive velcro. She cut the velcro into tiny squares and affixed it to most sides of the blocks.

Our boys played with the new sticky blocks yesterday and had great fun.

You could also use the idea with wooden blocks or any number of household objects.



Filed under activities, crafts

11 Ways to Make the 11th Magical

(Flickr photo by Leo Reynolds)

This Friday is 11/11/11 so I thought it would be fun to dream up 11 ways to make the day magical this week!

I got the idea from Magical Mama Sue, who is planning a fabulous 11/11/11 party for the day with lots of wonderful, wacky ideas.  Here’s her swiped plan:

Party ideas include the party starting at 11:11 a.m. and going no later than 11:11 p.m., all guests wearing exactly 11 items of clothing, and an 11 course meal!  Courses include: “beverage, olives, appetizer, meze, tapa, soup, salad, entree, veggie, dessert, cheese” (and appetizers are one bite appetizers)! 

For those who don’t know (I didn’t!), Sue explains: “Meze is greek for appetizer. Pronouced mezz-ay. You could always bring tapas instead. Spanish for appetizer. Or an appetizer, which is American for appetizer.” 

Doesn’t it sound fun?!  🙂

And in case you’re not up for a full-fledged party, here’s 10 more ways to make the 11th magical!

  1. Give your child 11 little presents to unwrap.
  2. Make a list of 11 fun things to do together.
  3. November 11th is also Veterans Day in the United States in support of our military veterans, and it is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other countries.  Take the day to do 11 nice things to thank veterans (take art to a veterans’ hospital, call a loved one who is a veteran to thank him or her, etc.).
  4. Play 11 games together throughout the day.
  5. Make an 11 memory book.  To commemorate the day, make a scrapbook or altered book (an unloved book that you repurpose and do art over) all about your child right now with an 11 theme — pages with lists like 11 things I’m good at, 11 people who love me, 11 things I want to do someday…
  6. Bake an 11/11/11 cake and put 11 candles on it, and then light and blow them out 11 times.
  7. Make your kids lists of 11 reasons you love each of them.
  8. Serve 11’s for lunch — all foods that look like 11 when lined up, like two celery sticks, two pretzel sticks, two string cheeses, two carrot sticks, etc.
  9. Spend the day doing 11 good things for others (the last one for yourselves!).
  10. Everybody make a wish at 11:11 on 11/11/11.  Make it good!


Filed under Ways to make today magical