Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy 2013!


I have written an awful lot of New Year posts on this blog and for the Magical Childhood newsletters over the years.  I started A Magical Childhood when my Annalee was just a baby in my arms as I typed, and next month she is turning 13! 

I am so glad that life kept throwing us unexpected blessings and right now I get to make some magic with just about every age group (my “babies” are now 1, 5, 9, 12 and 14), and that I can still yap at you all in the middle of the night with a little person asleep in my lap.  Thanks for understanding when there are weeks between those yappings, too!  🙂

I, for one, am kind of happy to see 2012 on its way out the door.  This was a rather intense year for our family, especially with Victoria’s cancer diagnosis, sepsis, surgeries and some continuing immune issues.  At the end of it all, though, we’re so blessed and we know it.

I wrote this for New Year’s Eve in 2003, with my baby Jack in my arms.  It seemed appropriate to post again.

I wish you and your families all the best for the new year.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the mayhem and the clutter and the lists of what we ought to be doing.  Don’t forget what the biggest things on your to-do lists should be– having fun, loving the heck out of your children & relishing life.

Slow down.  Give things up.  Laugh it off.  Make each day count, with at least one thing that is magical or truly matters.  And give yourself a break!

And when life gets crazy this year, take the advice of those wisest of people (aerobics instructors) and don’t forget to breathe.  ;)

Happy New Year!!
Alicia   (December 29, 2003)

PS  Click here if you want 10 awesome ways to ring in the new year with kids.  Again, it’s stuff I’ve recycled from various Magical Childhood posts in years past.  I do that a lot!

Happy 2013!!!!! 

Here’s wishing us all a truly magical, happy, healthy new year.



Filed under This and that

A Little Snowy Fun

Got snow?  Here’s a delightful way to use it!

Wouldn’t it be fun to sneak outside tonight and do this to the family car?  Or even all the cars in the parking lot?!  🙂

Happy Sunday!



Filed under happy stuff

Easy, Sturdy (Free) Building Blocks!

Here’s a little project that we’ve been doing for years.

These fun blocks are so easy!

I was planning on making a set of building blocks for Fiona for Christmas, but she kept trying to manhandle the presents under the tree so I decided to make her a set of “presents” of her own. 

It worked like a charm!

Here’s all you do:

  1. Save your cartons of drinks like almond milk and orange juice.  You’ll need two cartons for each block.
  2. Cut off the top.  Rinse and dry.
  3. Fit one carton into another (open ends facing each other), so that the block is closed on all sides.  This also makes it very sturdy, since it’s basically doubled up.
  4. Wrap with wrapping paper or cover with contact paper.  If you use paper, you can seal it with clear contact paper.  You can also tape on family pictures, magazine pages or other fun images before sealing with contact paper.

That’s it!  You can change them whenever you like by simply wrapping them with a new wrapping paper or covering with another layer of paper and contact paper. 

When my bigger kids were little, I made a “marble” set with marble contact paper so it looked like they were building stone buildings. 

You can also use little individual milk cartons (like school lunch size) to make alphabet blocks.  🙂


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Today’s Assignments

I was working on a post today in honor of those lost last Friday.  It was taking me a long time and our house is chaotic at the moment (five kids, who’d guess there would be chaos?).  I realized how backwards that was, so I am putting off that post and I am going to go spend time with my children.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to pick any three to do today:

  1. Do something magical with your children (there are over a hundred previous lists tagged “ways to make the day magical” if you need inspiration).
  2. Donate to a children’s charity in honor of those who were lost.
  3. Do something really nice for yourself.
  4. Do a random act of kindness with your kids.
  5. Make a wonderful, happy mess with your kids and then put on wacky clothes and happy music to clean it up together.
  6. Count your blessings.
  7. Snuggle your kids and let them know how much you love them.

My thoughts are with all those who are grieving today.

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Filed under goals and notes to self

10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!  I hope you’re warm and cozy in your little corner of the world.  We got snowed in for the first time in a very long time this past weekend and it was a little bit delightful.  My boys spent most of the day outside building a snow fort and throwing snowballs, and even 12 year-old Anna was out making snow angels.  Victoria got some gorgeous pictures of it all, and Fiona just stayed inside where it was nice and toasty.  Alex brought her a little bowl of snow to play with, but she decided she didn’t care for it at all. We also made lots of holiday treats and started on our billions of kid-made Christmas cards, which we’d better get moving on or they’ll be Valentines cards.  🙂

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

1.  Got snow?  Bring a big tub of it inside to play with.  Add matchbox cars, sand toys or colored water and eyedroppers.  (Tip:  I use a big under-the-bed storage box for the snow and put lots of towels down underneath it to contain the melting mess.)




2.  Make a paper chain of happy memories and accomplishments from the past year.

3Make a snowball target!  I love this idea from Nurture Store: “Draw a chalk target on an outside wall, line up some snowballs and shoot to score. Award different points for hitting different areas and keep tally with a score chart. Lots of adding up practice.”

3.  Leave ice wreaths as colorful surprises for your favorite decorated houses.  Freeze one ice wreath for each member of the family (put water in a bundt cake pan and add berries, sprigs of pine and/or food coloring and colored ice cubes and freeze).  Tie a note around it, thanking folks for making the world more magical.  Let each family member leave a wreath on the lawn of their favorite decorated house.

4.  Build a snow dragon or a snow house.

5.  Take the kids sledding inside.  Have them sit on bath towels and pull them around the kitchen or down the hall.  🙂

6.  Put on the happiest music you can find and dress up really silly to clean the house together.  Wear tiaras and aprons, superman capes and so on.  Have fun and be silly!

7.  Make gingerbread houses.  Here’s plans to make real ones, with lots of recipes and tips.  Here’s advice from a seasoned gingerbread house decorator on how to make it fun for kids and how to host a decorating party, plus a basic recipe. 

And Mary Engelbreit has plans to make darling permanent ones from recycled materials and craft supplies.

8.  Let your little ones help make a magical holiday scene with this interactive Christmas card from Ashland University.  They can click to make it snow, build a snowman, decorate with lights, hear a choir and more.

9.  Make some treats together.  Here’s a round-up of whimsical, healthy (-ish!) ones to balance out a bit of the junk of this time of year.

10. Find a few minutes to do something really nice for yourself.  Buy yourself a couple of truffles at the check-out and go enjoy them on the porch swing.  Take a relaxing bath with a magazine.  Call a friend who makes you feel fabulous.  You get the idea!  Extra credit if you come back and tell me what you did!  :)

You can also check out this list of 50 free (or almost free) ways to make the holidays magical for children

And with that, my dears, I’m off do the magical task of cleaning my living room — and maybe kissing on some little people while I’m at it.  Have a magical week!


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Filed under Ways to make today magical