Monthly Archives: September 2012

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Friday!

Long time, no see, huh?  Life has been busy here, but in mostly wonderful ways.

Among our biggest new developments…

  • Our family took a trip to Ohio to see my long-lost father’s family and my grandmother.  My late mother hid me from my father until after his death and I grew up not knowing that side of my family.  I found them in 2001 and got to go home and meet them all when the girls were itty-bitty, and this trip I got to return so my kids and husband could meet them too.  I am so happy to have them in my life.  They have told me and my kids so many wonderful stories of my dad and they are such loving, fun, fabulous people.  It was just a profoundly wonderful trip back!
  • Little miss Fiona is getting ready to turn one year old next month!  How did that happen so fast?
  • Best of all… Victoria had her three month PET-CT scan and the doctors found no traces of cancer!  She needs to wait five years before she can be officially declared cancer free, but this is such wonderful news!  🙂

Now, how about we get back into the swing of things with a few ways to make a little magic this week?

1.  Go on a natural toy hunt.  Head out with your favorite small people and tromp through the woods, park or neighborhood looking for all sorts of wonderful autumn items to take home and play with, craft with and imagine with.  Acorns, seed pods, gorgeous leaves and chestnuts are just a few of the wonderful goodies you can collect this time of year.

2.  Have a cleaning party with the kids.  Dress up in fabulous play dress-up clothes (party hats and/or tiaras are a must!), blast some happy music, grab some fun treats and clean like crazy together.  Set a timer for every 15 minutes to take a break and enjoy some treats together, and concentrate on being as wild and wacky as possible as you clean.  Who says cleaning has to be dull?!

3.  Make up some masking tape inside games The kids can do target practice, tic tac toe and lots more. 

4.  Or just give the kids a roll of painter’s tape.  Let them make roads, targets, towns, mosaics, paths, words or whatever their hearts desire.

5.  Carve and dye some mini pumpkins!  Isn’t this a darling idea?

6.  Make leaf mazes.  If you have a large yard full of leaves, rake a maze pattern in it and have the kids run, walk or bike it.  Challenge them to make lots of leaf mazes and then rake the leaves into piles for jumping.  (When you’re done, put the leaves on your gardens or in your compost pile or offer them to gardeners to keep the bags out of landfills.)

7.  Make pumpkin pie playdough.  We made this every fall for years and I need to make it up again with some gluten free experimentation for my little guy.  It smells heavenly and is so much fun to play with!  Note that this makes a lot, so feel free to use some math with the kids and make smaller batches!

Pumpkin Pie Playdough Recipe

  • 5-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups salt
  • 8 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 1 container (1-1/2 oz) of pumpkin pie spice  ( If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, just substitute cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, or whatever combination of them you have on hand!)
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • orange food coloring (2 parts yellow, 1 part red)
  • 4 cups water

Mix all ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until all lumps disappear. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth. Store in a plastic bag.

8.  Make crab apple cider If you’re lucky enough to have access to crab apple trees, you have to try making crab apple cider with the kids!  It’s easy (no apple press required) and the cider is beautiful ruby red and delicious.  We have friends who go to a park near their home every fall to harvest unsprayed crab apples for this stuff since we introduced them to it.  It’s a fun, tasty tradition!

9.  Make a spooky family message for the answering machine.

10. Go find a big pumpkin and plop your favorite tiny person inside it.  🙂  I still smile when I see pictures of when we did this with baby Jack all those years ago.

And with that, chickadees, I’m off to clean some messes and make some new ones!  Have a wonderful weekend!










Filed under Ways to make today magical

Marble Mice!

Here’s a fun little printable craft from The Toymaker — Marble Mice!  Just print out the pattern on cardstock, cut out, and add a large marble inside. 

The Toymaker says…

These Marble Mice are fun to make and roll around on your desk. Cats love them!

What fun!




Filed under activities, crafts, neat stuff elsewhere, printables


Forgive me if I post a little sap today.  This time of year brings back a lot of memories and I thought I’d share them.

This September marks 17 years since my last miscarriage.  Or since the start of it, I suppose, since that one (my twelfth) sort of began in September, two days after our wedding, and lasted for several months of questions and waiting and bleeding and a D&C and more bleeding and finally emergency surgery on New Year’s Day. 

That was a very long fall.

I wrote this poem that fall, trying to hold on to the hope that I could ever become a mother.  I thought I’d share it today.


past quiet farms with their rows of trees,
past the wide fields of blonde, spent crops,
past the thin lakes where the pelicans drifted,
we drive in silence, squinting
at the eastern sun with its blood-red tints.
i know this road by heart.

each friday, and then mondays and wednesdays
too, we made this trip.  at first
full of hope, then fear, and then
acceptance.  i have grown used
to the needles, the tests, the death.
for a month i have kept her anyway, waiting.

 and some say i handle it wonderfully.
 and some say to just try again.
 and some say to get my sh*t together
 and come back to work.

the doctor says they don't know why.

we drive on to the hospital.

out the window, i watch the crisp trees
shed their own deaths.  for seven years
these seasons marked my failures.
i do not mourn their green. i am tired of grief.

we drive on, past all that once grew.
winter is coming, again.

(Alicia Bayer)

Two and a half years later, we had our first baby.  We were not sure if we’d ever have a child and then we had Victoria, then Anna, then Jack.  We decided to be practical and stop at three, and then were delighted to be wrong when Alex surprised us and became number four.  We were even more delighted to be wrong last year again, when I thought I was too old for babies and we thought we were being so careful, and baby Fiona blessed us with her delightful presence. 

It’s fall, and I’m watching the pelicans drift on the lakes, knowing they’ll soon by flying off until the weather warms up again.  Every time I look at those magical white birds, I remember that day so long ago.  I am so amazed by my luck and my blessings. 

I have never liked fall, but more and more it reminds me of that moment 17 years ago, watching the pelicans and holding on to hope in spite of logic. 

And I’m so thankful for that change of seasons.

Photo by Jack (age 9), edited by Anna (age 12)


Filed under Poems