About Us

We are a noisy, messy, happy, wacky family in rural Minnesota.  Our family consists of me (Alicia), my wonderful lug of a husband (Daryl) and five kids — Victoria, Annalee, Jack, Alex and our lovely surprise baby Fiona.

I started my website A Magical Childhood in 2001, when my older girls were tiny.  At the time, I had a newsletter that I sent out full of magical ideas, crafts, links, musings and such.  I sent the Magical Childhood newsletter out for about 8 years but more and more time elapsed between issues as our family grew.  In 2009, I replaced the newsletter with a mostly-daily blog (first at LiveJournal, then moved here).

There are no ads on the Magical Childhood website or here on the blog.  This has never been about making money for me.  I love children and I love people who love children, and this is just a place for me to share the same sorts of things I wrote in my newsletters all those years.

I hope you find something here to make you smile.  🙂




81 responses to “About Us

  1. Hi 🙂 I just found your sites through Peaceful Parenting’s blog (and your article there) and I’m enjoying reading! I just wanted to let you know that I was checkin’ you out 😀

  2. Angela

    Thanks so much for sharing your playful and imaginative ideas. They are so aligned with what I try to do, and it is so inspiring to see all of your activities on days that I am feeling stuck. I love how having children has brought the magic of childhood back into my life.

  3. jane

    love your blog, thanks for a fun and refreshing perspective on life!!
    love and light
    jane x

  4. deby

    I used to get your newsletter & am happy to find your blog. I have only 2 and am a full time working mom – very different – but I enjoy your insights, suggestions, perspectives etc. You seem like you have such a great family!

  5. How amazingly wonderful your blog is! Thank you for the great posts. I used your “Things a 4 year old should know” list on my blog and cited and linked you in it. I hope that is okay… you really did a wonderful job!!
    Thank you and keep ’em coming!

  6. Hello,
    I am really enjoying your blog!! I saw “Things a Child Should Know Before Entering Preschool” and I thought it was absolutely inspired. I am an intern with IDEA, I’ve included our website in case you would like to check us out, I think you may find some of the things we are advocating very interesting. I hope you’ll take the time to check us out, and please get back in touch with me!! Once again, I love what you’re doing, and please keep up your awesome work!!
    Warmest regards,
    Nichole Ezell

  7. I think your blog is a great idea. My siblings and I are trying to start one right now; getting all those memories and thoughts in one place would be so cool. The latest blog entry (also the second…) is a funny conversation my two sisters had about parenting, which you might find funny: http://unusualbrood.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/kids/.

    Anyway, I like your blog 🙂

    – Patty

  8. Cassie

    Hey there! Someone in my MOPS group said she used some of your articles last year for our newsletter, and I was curious if you would allow us to do that again this year? I couldn’t find a way to email you privately on here, but please let me know! cassieunruh@comcast.net. Thank you!

  9. I can’t say enough about your 4 year old article. I help run a private preschool learning center and this article explains it to the tee!
    Thank you! It is nice to know that other parents think the same way!

  10. Liza

    Hi I came across your website and it is wonderful. I am currently doing a research around sustainable architecture in school and how it’s linked to creativity and learning. Do you know of any schools around europe that you might be affiliated with through your site?

    Thank you very much

  11. Amy

    I just have to say WOW about your 4 year old article. I’m a stay at home mom with two little girls and it was really touching. You mentioned ‘character building’ in the article and I was wondering if you have anything more to read (or say) on that topic? Thanks so much!

  12. I love what you wrote about 4 year olds. I will be one of your blog stalker for sure. Can I also share your blog and your articles in my blog?

  13. Sassib

    I think your blog and your family are great. The ideas are inspired and I am so looking forward to trying all of them out with my children.

    Thank you for sharing!

  14. Tabitha

    I have had fun reading about your magical life. Love it!!

  15. I recently read your arcticle on what 4 years olds need to know in our e-mail homeschool newsletter in Bemidji, MN. I really enjoyed it and was inspired to check out your blog seeing you were from MN as well. Thanks for all the fun stuff you share!

  16. Pingback: What a 4-year-old Should Know « A Mother's Notebook

  17. bec

    sooooooo gonna be a regular reader! you have some fantastic ideas for stimulating the brains of my wonderful little people!!! thanks for taking the time to share!!!

  18. I’ve been reading your blog off and on for awhile and am always inspired by the fun things you do with your family. I just finally read the ‘about me’ section and realized you also hail from Minnesota too. I guess great people tend to collect in the same places!
    Keep doing what you do!

  19. Thank you so much for the 4 year old article. Truly inspiring.

    Liane – UK.

  20. Kay

    Your site is absolutely FABULOUS! I found it on Pinterest and am thrilled. Thank-you for all your hard work here! WOW! I’m a mother, teacher of young children…so I’m in heaven with this site!

  21. I keep sharing links from your blog on my book’s FB page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-Range-Learning/144797732198536 on Google +, so thought I’d say thank you for all the inspiration. A magical childhood can’t help but lead to a lifetime of wonder and awe.

  22. Tia

    I just read your article about what a 4 year old should know. It is very insightful and made me really appreciate my children. I am having issues with the school and my 8 year old. She is in the 2nd grade and is having behavioral issues. The teachers keep complaining as they feel she is disturbing their lessons. However, I feel she is just be I a kid. It is not like she is being mean or anything, she is just a social butterfly and like to talk and play. She doesn’t like the sit in your set for 6 hours and don’t move. She is a very hands on learner and all they do now is lecture and practice. She is a tactile learner. I am just lost as to what to do and this article made me realize how magical she is and what an amazing daughter I have!!! Thank you

  23. i found your blog and love it!

  24. Hi, My name is Amarilis and I’m a mommy of a wonderful four year old boy who gives me the honor (and priviledge) of sharing his amazing imagination and mind’s eye so I can see the world again through his lenses… I’m also a pediatrician. I would LOVE to translate (I live in Brasil) and use your list/post in the office (with your name and link to your blog). Would you mind?! It’s so perfect that it should be shared!

  25. I just found your lovely blog via Pinterest and I’ll certainly be trying out some of your fab ideas. I’ve just started my own blog to document my children’s lives and share ideas. I’d love you to visit and hope I can inspire you too 🙂 x

  26. jan

    just found this! Nice

  27. Trace Dreyer

    I put your blog entry on 100 ways to make today magical (or something like that), and keep coming back to it for ideas. Thanks!

  28. Mattie

    Hello from another Minnesota mom! I am so happy to have found you!

  29. Alycia

    I LOVE this blog! All of it! AMAZING! Thank you so much!

    • Alycia

      in fact, just to follow that up, I found this via my children’s homeschooling site, and we made cloud soap today and painted it with food colouring, and they were amazed. I was too. I’m going to be coming back here a LOT for ideas. I especially love that you homeschool too. I was nervous about it, at first, but I’ve never done anything in my life that’s brought me more joy, and I think it’s a huge benefit for me and for the kids. I love hands on learning. Kids learn the most when they’re having fun.

      • Thanks Alycia! I’m glad you guys had fun with the cloud soap and that you like the blog. 🙂 Now that we have five kids I don’t get to write as much as I once did but there are oodles of ideas in the archives and I try to keep it up with fun ideas. We love homeschooling too. Nice to meet you!

  30. Marcela

    Dear Alicia
    You are interesting mother and interesting teacher!!!!

  31. A-mazing blog. Followed. liked and appreciated by a Montessorian 🙂

  32. Alexandria

    I love that your blog has no ads and is just for the love of it! Thank you, I will be checking back often!

  33. You say “Magical” and I’ll say “Creative.” No one knows what talents they have until given the opportunity to express themselves. Thank you for sharing ideas that we can all adopt in creating a chance to grow, express, and share talents……..both old and hopefully, new!

  34. Carolyn Currier

    Love your ideas!

  35. Your post is shared by FNDC (Family Network for Deaf Children) and this is how I found your magical place. It’s a happy place to be. Thank you.

  36. Pravi

    Interesting, inspiring and lively ideas and Thanks for Sharing..
    Happy to find this bog 🙂

  37. Shelley Coleman

    Just found this site and love it . Please send me an Email when you post something new.

  38. Ann-Marie McDonald

    Hi there,

    I have just found your site via a link my friend posted on facebook to your piece about what to expect from a 4 year old and I have to say that it is a really refreshing read. You have some wonderful ideas on this site that I will not only use at home with my own children but also with the children I teach.

    Many thanks,
    London, England

  39. Corina Cully

    I, also, just discovered your site. I am happy to have found you! I am a grandmother of a 3 year old and his full time care giver. He just began pre-school last week. It is a co-op. I personally do not agree with sending young children away to school and leaving them to be taught/disciplined/raised by someone they don’t even know, yet, and maybe the parents don’t either. The list in your article about what a 4 year old should know includes a child to trust his instincts and don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right to him. I agree fully. As the grandparent and not the parent, I cannot make the call that the pre-school teacher shouldn’t be telling my grandson what to do. It is very difficult to be encouraged to let him cry when he is angry at being told to do something that the teacher wants him to do, just to learn how to fit in and get over it What would you suggest I do to support him and stand up for him in this environment? I have not had to face this type of situation in the past. I have had complete control of our environment and care up until now, and because of the situation I feel powerless and angry.
    Your philosophy of how to be with and raise children is very much the same as my own. I appreciate your passion for passing on your knowledge and wisdom. Corina, Pacific Grove, CA

    • Corina, that does sound like a hard situation for you and your grandson. I would suggest a few things.

      First, if he is not dealing with serious harm like bullying, demeaning talk or abuse, I would give him a little while to adapt to the preschool. It may not be where he would prefer to be but he may grow to enjoy it once he gets over the transition to such a different environment. Cheerfully support him in your home when he is there, and encourage him to look at the positives about the preschool. It’s likely that he’ll get a lot of his cues for what he should feel about the preschool from you, and it will ultimately help him if you can do your best to model some enthusiasm for him.

      In a way, it’s a similar situation to shared custody after divorce. It can be excruciating to send your child to an environment so different from your own, especially the other caregiver doesn’t share your beliefs about children’s upbringings. It’s ultimately in the best interest of the child for us to do our best to focus on the positive and not criticize the other party, though, since that just makes it harder on the child (the exception, of course, is when the other environment is dangerous or abusive).

      If he still is unhappy after a few weeks and it seems to be a really negative place for him, it might help to brainstorm with his parent(s) about a compromise you could make. It’s wonderful that you’ve been willing to give him such loving care all of this time and that you’re still willing to. If they are concerned about socialization, you could offer to take part in some other social activities with him on a regular basis (park time, community classes, homeschool pre-k groups, playdates…). If they are concerned about education, you could offer to introduce those subjects in your home in a play-based manner.

      In the end, the best you can do is to be a really fabulous place for him to come to and loving him like crazy. That alone does some pretty amazing things for little ones. If you ever feel that his school is doing real damage, then (lovingly, smartly) fight like crazy on his behalf. If it just a manner of it not being as magical as your place, then just be sure to keep your place as magical when he is there.

      Hugs! Your grandson is very lucky to have you.

  40. Julie Egginton

    So many wonderful ideas, I’ll be a regular visitor to your site now I’ve found you 🙂

  41. Corina Cully

    I appreciate your kind and supportive comments. You are completely correct about everything you suggested and I am so excited to have added you to my life. I have told my daughter and another of her friends about you, and will encourage them to participate in being active in your wonderful ideas of imaginative play, etc. on your site. So happy to have your positive energy available! Corina

  42. Janette

    I love ur page, thxs for sharing

  43. Nirmala

    This is Nimmi from Bangalore, India…I just found your article and I am in your site for hours reading…In total awe with your work…Thank you so much for the work you are doing…I am basically person passionate about working with kids, left my finance profession & over past year working with aspects related to children & parenting.. Will it be okay with you if I share your articles, giving your credentials? And an amazing part of some connection to you is I was in Minnesota on a project, for couple of months when I was working with Target. Wish I had known you then..could have met a person who is doing such lovely work with a sacred objective. All the best!!!

  44. Teresa Selensky

    Found your site after seeing your letter about what a 4 1/2 year-old should know on a friend’s facebook page. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING THAT! I have three boys and used to work with the Parents as Teachers Program before my husband and I were suprised with our youngest when I was 44. You summed up what life should be like for children in such a beautiful way. I loved watching children grow and learn through play and through the love and care of their parents, and I love doing the same thing with my own children. I am looking so forward to reading more of your ideas!

  45. Katie

    I just found your blog from a link on Facebook, what a wonderful mother you are, can’t wait to try some of your ideas out x

  46. I love your blog and pinterest boards! I’ve been following your blog for years. I am always inspired by your positive outlook and creative, fun ideas. I wanted to share a site that I thought you and your family would enjoy. It is DIY.org. It has a huge wealth of activities and ideas for kids and adults, ranging from exercise or team play, to playing an instrument or building with wood and everything in-between. A great resources for “do-it-yourself” folks, young and old. If you have already been to it, sorry for the redundancy. If not, enjoy!

    Happy Monday (a little early)!

  47. juliana

    I just read an article you have written, it was published at Dr. Abel Albino FB page. Article: Qué debe hacer un niño de 4 años? Brilliant! Kind Regards- Juliana- SLP from Argentina, Bs As.

  48. Alicia, im Macarena, from Chile. My english it´s not good so i hope you undertand me. Im the editor of a Magazine named Mamá y Bebé & Kids and i really want to have your e-mail. It´s that possible? Maybe why can coordinate an interview. I read your articule: Qué debe hacer un niño de 4 años? and i love it. I hope you write me back and more important….i hope you undertand what im trying to say lol. My twitter is @macapye.

  49. Jean Richard Lpes

    Hi, I’m a brazilian priest and I want congratulate with you for your brillant/funny blog. Actually, I believe that to educate a child, today, is very hard. But principally a child need to be a child and not a little adult. I’ve loved your post “What should a 4 year old know?”. I pretend to translate the text and exihbit it to my parish, for I believe this post is a great respectful help to think about the education of our children. The most of the parents have a good intention, but always they dont have a good advice and orientation for them own.
    Thanks and congratulation.

  50. Marie-Louise Little

    Thank you!

  51. Linda

    Your article on a four year old is awesome. How do I follow you? Are you in Facebook?

  52. Begum

    Just saw your article “what should a four year old know” on fb, liked it and decided to follow your website. Don’t know if you already posted an article about education for toddlers or how to find a good kindergarten for children. I am writing you from Turkey. My little one will be 3 in summer and i begin to research a good one already. Meanwhile i heard about an educational method called Montessori. I don’t know how common this method is used in your country but i liked what i have read so far. There are just few ones of them where i live in. so feel that i need to ask you.
    thank you & regards..

  53. diane

    as soon as I saw your website, I knew I needed to come back! thanks for this inspiration moment and for the next to come!

  54. This blog is wonderful! Sincerely thank you.

  55. I have been carrying around your blog post, “100 Ways to Make Today Magical” in my bookbag for ALMOST TWO YEARS! Would you mind if I reposted it on my web site with a link to your blog, your Facebook page, and your name? If you want to preview my site before giving permission, you can view it here; http://www.bluegrasseducation.com

  56. I love your site! I found you through a shared link on Facebook on Free Range Learning’s page. I’m so glad I found you! I’ll be back often.

  57. My kids are grown, but my older and I looked over your blog entries and reminisced about when he was little. I have you as a favorite under “things that make me smile.” Thanks so much and the best to you and yours.

  58. Dear Alycia,
    your open-minded thinking in connection with children is fantastic! here in Hungary we just start a new website – BabaDirect, where we have the intention to help parents and grand-parents to find the right way, having happy life with kids. I would like kindly ask for your permission to use some of your articles, I’ve found here – of course with link to your blog! I have nearly the same way of thinking (originally I’m teacher of young children)- but as all important things are collected by you in connection with magical childhood – it is better to show as it is – if you agree and give your permission. thank you for your fantastic job! Orsi

  59. Veena Agrawal

    I feel like rejuvenating after reading your blogs
    ….I wonder can pen give that peace of mind.

  60. Hi Alicia,
    Your 4-year-old article was just what I needed to read and hear today. I’d love to re-publish it on my site with a photo and bio of you and a link to the original. I see you’ve given permission to others to do the same, so I will plan on it unless you give me a big NO here. Thanks for your inspiring words! – Jenny

  61. xaaragirl

    Hi Alicia! I ❤ ur creative DIYs. Actually that's how I found myself here. I clicked a picture of knitted flowers and poof! I was here at a Magical chilhood!

  62. Cara

    Hi Alicia,
    I wanted to tell you how awesome you are and thank you for creating all this helpful information. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about what 4 year olds should know and I personally write in a gratitude journal everyday and everyday I write about my little guy. Today I am grateful that I found your site and reminding me to let my four year old be himself and make everything fun and that is how he learns the best.

  63. ML

    Hi Alicia,
    I never comment on blogs, but I wanted to send you a message to let you know that yours is my favorite. You are so genuine and the magicalness of playing with children that you share is so sweet. It makes me think of small, soft colored, floral print fabric–I know that’s a strange analogy, but maybe it will resonate with you. I wish you and your family wellness and joy.

  64. Alicia,
    I was happily surprised to find this in “What a 4 year old Should Know”:
    ‘ that the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT scores …’
    That is amoung the best news for me all year. I am 69 and living with a young family that is all screens (FB, texts & games) and no books. EeeK!!
    Can you point me to the source of that statement?

    I have a cherished needlepoint on my wall that says,
    ‘May this home be clean enough to be healthy
    and messy enough to be lived in”
    Fits with your output. Many thanks.
    River Judd
    Mayne Island,BC, Canada

  65. Lisa Carriere

    Hi Alicia!
    What a great blog. I just posted a comment t but I’m not sure if it worked as word press took me down a path to log in
    Just asking again cause I’m really looking forward to an answer.. for your mix & match quick bread.. please?!

    • I don’t see the original comment so it’s good that you posted it here, too. 🙂 Which recipe did you want? We have our standard recipe for mix and match quick bread and then I converted it to gluten free about 6 years ago, too.

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