Monthly Archives: February 2012

Happy Leap Day!

Happy Leap Day!  Need a few ideas on how to make the most of our extra day today?  Mother Nature Network has this fun list.

29 fun things to do on Leap Day

Did you and your kiddos do anything fun to celebrate?

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This is a Home Where Children Live

This is a Home Where Children Live

You may not find things all in place,
Friend, when you enter here.
But, we’re a home where children live,
We hold them very dear.

And you may find small fingerprints
And smudges on the wall.
When the kids are gone, we’ll clean them up,
Right now we’re playing ball.

For there’s one thing of which we’re sure,
These children are on loan.
One day they’re always underfoot,
Next thing you know, they’re gone.

That’s when we’ll have a well kept house,
When they’re off on their own.
Right now, this is where children live,
A loved and lived in home.

~Judith Bond




Filed under This and that

Celebrate Pancake Day!

That’s right, it’s not just Mardis Gras tomorrow!  It’s also Pancake Day (also known as Shrove Tuesday). 

This historic holiday was once a tradition for families to use up ingredients like eggs and sugar that were restricted during Lent. 

When we found out about traditional pancake races a few years ago, we adapted the fun with some local homeschool friends.  I bought some cheap packaged pancakes for our races.  To do your own pancake races, you line up and run as fast as you can, flipping your pancake on a plate or paper plate holder as you run, then hand off your pancake to your partner on the opposite side to race back with.   You could also adapt it for just one or two participants too, of course!

Here’s some pictures of our fun…

Of course, you could also celebrate Pancake Day by just making a load of them and eating them for dinner (ooh, with a topping bar!) too!

Want more info about Pancake Day? 

There’s info on Wikipedia, the International Pancake Day site and the Irish Culture and Customs site.  This British site has lots of really fun information about pancake races and also lists some other traditional activities, like skipping and ” the world’s oldest, largest, longest and maddest football game.”

Happy Pancake Day!


Filed under happy stuff

Peace (with or without quiet!)

“Peace does not mean to be in a place
where there is no noise,
trouble, or hard work.
Peace means to be in the midst of all those things
and still be calm in your heart.”

~Marcel Morin

I love this picture I took last month at Magical Mama Tiffany’s house.  She was hosting an extra wacky mama (that would be me!), a baby and an extra boy for a week, along with her own (growing!!!) family.  She even had a couple of crazy birds on her shoulder who are fond of whistling “If you’re happy and you know it” and then pecking people in the head!  🙂 

Next time things are really zany at your house, do me a favor and picture a wacky bird or two on your shoulder, thank your lucky stars for people to fill your house with noise, and laugh.  It gets me through an awful lot of crazy days! 

Happy weekend!

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Tuesday!

My deepest apologies for being so lackadaisical about posting lately!  Having five children of such varying ages does keep me busy!  It’s (mostly!) the best kind of busy though!  🙂

Here’s a few ways to add a little magic to your adventures this week…

1.  Do some Pinterest-inspired art together.  I have a Pinterest board just of drawing and altered book ideas, and Annalee and I scrolled through it and tried out lots of the ideas together the other night.  It was a fun way to learn some new doodling techniques and we sat and chatted as we drew.

2.  Head to a thrift store and splurge on a prom dress or bridesmaid’s dress for dress up.  They’re $7 each at a store near us, and it’s the most magical way I know to make a certain couple of girls happy…








3.  Got snow?  Make some targets for snowball target practice, like Playful Learning did!  No snow?  Get creative with balls, water balloons or even mud balls!  🙂

4.  Give each other fancy pedicures.  These teal and black polka dotted beauties are courtesy of 8 year-old Jack.  

(Side note: Every week for my prenatal visit with Fiona, my doctor would look to see what kind of a pedicure I had for that visit, since my kids were so fond of giving me crazy paint jobs and they always made her smile.)

5.  Start hosting a Saturday night movie night with friends.  Don’t forget the munchies!

"As you wish...."

6.  Do some melted crayon art.  Line a warming tray or electric griddle with tinfoil and then place a sheet of paper on it.  Let kids draw on the paper with crayons, pressing down and drawing slowly so the crayons will melt into vibrant, waxy pools as they draw.  You can use mittens to help protect little ones from getting burned, but close supervision and cautions about the heat are the best protection.  We turn the heat to around 200 for little ones and 250 for older kids (and more satisfying results). 

No griddle?  Use a couple of cookie sheets warmed in the oven and just rotate them as they cool off.

7.  Let the kids do something crazy with their hair.  Go for temporary colorful hair spray, glitter or even go all out like our brave friend Jessie (with Jack and Fiona) and her even braver mum Tiffany, who’s shaving her hair off to raise money for cancer research (you can donate here to help!).

Here’s Tiffany before with her beautiful hair (and my beautiful babe).  At least it grows back quickly, huh?!  🙂

8.  Bake a cake together and let your child decorate it, either for his/her birthday or just because!

9.  Make a bird seed work of art in the front yard.  Head to Family Fun for more details.

10.  Decorate some rocks with lovely little painted hearts like Color Me Katie and leave them around the world to brighten people’s days!

And with that, I’m off to tackle 87 things on my to-do list and chase small children with noisy kisses. 

Have a magical week!




Filed under Ways to make today magical

Do Something Brave Month!

We’re doing a family challenge for the month of February that I thought others might like to join in on.  We’re designating it Do Something Brave Month, and challenging ourselves to each do 20 brave things to earn a family reward.

What counts as brave?  Anything outside your comfort zone that could lead to good things but feels a little scary.

Some examples (for big and little people)…

  • Go to sleep with the lights out
  • Approach someone you’d like to befriend and start a conversation
  • Audition for a play
  • Jump into the deep end for the first time
  • Sign up for a club or class
  • Ask for a raise
  • Stand up for someone (including yourself)
  • Sing in public
  • Face a phobia and take a step towards kicking it
  • Climb a tree
  • Send out a book proposal
  • Go into the basement alone
  • Compliment a stranger
  • Write an author to say you love her book
  • Get a daring haircut
  • Go up high and look down
  • Sign up for a half marathon
  • Quit a bad habit
  • Try out for a sport
  • Look under the bed

Obviously, these should be tasks that are a little bit scary for you.  Petting a dog would be a great challenge for a child afraid of dogs, but not for someone who is always around them!  Each thing should be safe and positive

These can be small steps that help deal with shyness, fears and hesitations.  Keep it doable!

Want to join in?  Pick a family goal (we’re doing 20 each, for me and the four older kids, so a total of 100 brave things for the month) and a reward (we’re taking a trip to the Mall of America for the first time as a family so we can hang out with wonderful friends and see LEGO Land for the first time!).  Also decide on rules.  For instance, we decided that we can do more than one a day and that we can do extra to help the family out (for instance, if one family member is short on her/his 20, we can do extras to make the family goal).  Focus on making it positive and possible!

We’re tracking our points on the calendar, with a different color of pen for each of us to log our accomplishments.

Are you in?  Feel free to jump in any time and tailor it to suit your family!  I’d love to hear some of your challenges in the comments if you do join in.

Here’s to making some magic happen.  🙂



Filed under To do

Fiona’s Thought for the Day

Today’s quote comes courtesy of 3 month old Fiona, who is sticking her tongue out at anybody who disagrees.  😉

“If we are to reach real peace in the world we shall have to begin with children.” 

~ Ghandi

(Back tomorrow with some magic and fun!)

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