Tag Archives: challenges

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.  🙂



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Land Art!

Want a little inspiration for making something magical outside with the kiddos?  I love this Flickr pool of Land Art for Kids.  Check out just a few of the images….

I can’t wait to see what my kiddos can come up with to join in.  Best of all, it’s an all season, all climate kind of project.  What fun!

And yes, I’m still planning on moving shop.  I’m working on getting my bearings at blogger right now.  I’m going to see if there’s any way to transfer a year’s worth of posts over there, other than copying roughly 360 posts.  It would help if I were not quite so clueless about all of this stuff!  🙂

I’ll keep you posted.

Happy weekend!


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Magical Moments– the Annotated Version

Lest things seem too perfect here, I offer up some behind the scenes not-so-magical moments from yesterday’s entry!

1.  Make mud art…

I’ve saved these plates from an estate auction (the stack was a dollar!) to use for something whimsical for years.  Shortly after taking these pictures, Alex threw a trowel at the stack that was left and broke them all.  

Also, Jack destroyed Anna’s mud art and made her cry.  I needed to come back out and mediate after I went inside and get everybody on the right track again!


2.  Put bubbles in the kiddie pool! 

We had our one year-old neighbor over the next day and Jack and Anna were both so wild I had to quietly take them each aside several times and remind them to dial it down a little — which didn’t work.  Jack splashed and flung bubbles so wildly that he soaked the neighbor (the one year-old’s dad!) a bit and I finally got frustrated and sent him inside.


3.  Make a density column

Okay, this was cool but there were still squabbles over who got to pour which layer and fussing about so-and-so jostling the table!  You can see that the colors mixed in places from it getting bumped too often.

4.  Go see a pageant (a historic play) or other outdoor show.

Jack talked the ear off the smiling lady next to him and accidentally dumped an entire bottle of water on his shirt and pants when he somehow missed his mouth!   Alex happily (and unhappily) shrieked at inappropriate moments throughout the show!  He especially loves to hoot to the horses.  Grandpa and Grandma were not fond of Alex hooting at horses.

5.  Better yet, sign up to be part of one!

The girls had plenty of moments when they had to be reminded why they signed up for all that work.  They are sad that it’s over and absolutely love being part of the pageant every year (this was their 5th season!) but see plenty of posts of mine from the past 2 months about what nights have been like while Daddy and the girls are gone until nearly midnight some nights with rehearsals and performances.  The boys and I sometimes had to be very creative to make it to bedtime!  🙂


6.  Look for shooting stars. 

In this picture, Victoria has just gotten over sobbing because Annalee has accidentally elbowed her hard in the eye!

7.  Play in the sprinkler! 

Victoria was annoyed at Anna for not playing frisbee well, Jack thought the water was too cold and Alex was scared of the whole business.

8.  Find a good hill and roll down it!

Okay, to tell you truth I don’t think a single second of unhappiness happened during hill rolling.  I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until someone rolls onto a red ant hill or over a sibling, but it’s a pretty innocent way to pass the time!  🙂


9.  Set up the tent in the back yard…

We got a little bit hot after a while and moved to the back yard, but it was windy and kept blowing the cards away!


10.  Break out the legumes! 

Other than the kids squabbling over who got to use the pan of beans, this one was pretty foolproof too.  You have to prepare to sweep up spilled beans, but it’s a small price to pay in my book!  Besides, I always tell the kids that spills are the only way my floor gets regularly swept and mopped!  🙂  It’s good for us!

You can also note the mostly naked toddler, the badminton net made out of an old hammock (plus a bamboo stake and a tent pole), the unbrushed hair, the stained tablecloth and other imperfections that crept in despite careful photographing!  🙂

I still count every one of those as magical moments though.  I tell my kids to hold on to the good parts of the day and dump the rest.  When we’re in those maddening moments, it can be pretty crazy-making.  At the end of the day, I try to let the noises and messes and fights fall away and remember the good.

It’s imperfect as all get-out, but it’s still magical.  🙂


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A Walk in the Moonlight

Tonight was not the easiest of nights.  Daryl and the girls had "media night" for the play they are in.  They have practice every weeknight and tonight they left early in full costume to rehearse act one and meet the press.  As with the rest of June, I was on my own with two little boys (one of whom can drive me to distraction!).

It was a long night.  Alex found the litter box and the scoop and left a trail down the hallway carpet and all the way down the stairs.  He dumped things out.  He wrote on Daddy’s new recliner with blue marker.  He accidentally scratched Jack.  He threw fits.

There are some nights when it takes all you’ve got to make it to bedtime, and tonight was one of those nights.

I got him cleaned up, the recliner cleaned up, the hallway and stairs cleaned up, and got him acting better and asleep.  I even got a bunch of enthusiastic toddler hugs and kisses before he dropped.  The rest of the house was trashed but it was a success in my book.

When the girls came home, we ended up having an impromptu music history lesson when I had Victoria look up "We are the World" on you-tube and talked about how Michael Jackson shaped his generation.  Then I was still wired from the evening and asked Anna if she wanted to go for a walk.

My kids love taking late night walks.  I’m not sure what it is about walking with Mama under the stars, but it has always been a treat to my kids.

Anna was still in her prairie girl costume, bonnet and all.  We held hands and walked around the neighborhood, talking.  I told her how I held her in my lap when she was a baby on the front lawn in the moonlight and made her promises.  She walked me to the magical cornfield and told me to make a wish for the fairies.  She also told me how so-and-so texted her boyfriend at rehearsal about the bench the kids were using.  She said she felt lucky she got to take late night walks with me.  I told her sappy memories and gave her hugs.

When we got back, I asked her to send Victoria out.  I’m glad Victoria is not too old to take late night walks with her mama.  I showed her my bulletproof roses that the neighbor thought were "brambles" and mowed down for years.  They grew in full shade on the north side of the house for years before we moved in and loved them into full bloom.  I told her how our back yard used to be nothing but grass, and how we bought 5 tiny lilac trees and 2 dogwoods to line the back and now they’re twice as tall as we are.  The gardens, the climbing tree, the raspberries, the roses taller than the garage… it’s all new since the house became ours and now it seems like it’s been there forever.

We went walking off down the side streets and I told her how we went walking on a night like this when she was a baby with my friend Jen and her daughter, Lizzie, and how we stopped in the moonlight for me to bend down and talk to her in the stroller.  I was being sappy and adoring her, and Lizzie turned to her mother and said in her most reverent five year-old voice, "That’s love."

I told her again about how many miscarriages I had before we had her, and how Daddy and I used to fight over who got to hold her.  I told her how much we loved her and how proud we’ve been every day of her life.

When we got home, Jack snuggled up in my lap while we watched late night TV and he fell asleep while I stroked his hair.  We never got to the books I meant to read tonight or the art project I kept wanting to do.  I hope the snuggling and the extra orange juice popsicles made up for it a little.

It’s the end of the night now, and it’s miserably hot inside.  We don’t have central air, just a window unit downstairs.  I’m hot and tired and there’s still more mess to clean up in the morning.  Tomorrow, Alex will wake in a fantastic mood and commence trying to drive us all crazy again. 

It was a trying night.  There were messes and tears and mayhem.  There’s no denying it.  But what I’m taking to bed with me tonight is the kisses, the snuggling, walking hand in hand with my daughters and making wishes by magical cornfields.

The rest will still drive me to distraction, but I still think it’s worth it.  🙂

Goodnight all.  Happy Friday!

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Make Something Cool Every Day Challenge: Days 1-5

Just checking in for the “Make something cool every day” challenge.  Here’s what we’ve done so far….

Day 1:  Made colored bath cubes

Day 2:  Invented apple-raspberry iced tea (we steeped 3 green tea bags and 2 standard tea bags in boiling water and added hot water to make a gallon, and then added 1/3 cup of sugar and 3 big scoops of concentrated apple-raspberry juice)


Day 3:  Made altered spice containers for sand box play.  I gave the kids an assortment of spice tins that were either empty or stale and let them use acrylic paint, stickers and permanent markers to create their own line of fantasy spices.  Victoria thought she’d be clever and put hers back in my cooking supplies to surprise me.   They don’t strike me as very appetizing at all!  ;)

Day 4:  Victoria and I made “secret recipe” KFC cole slaw.  She found it in one of my recipe books and requested it last week so I got the ingredients.  We made a bit of a mess but she had fun,  it made lots and it was pretty close to the real thing!


Day 5:  Anna took this wonderful picture of a Downy Woodpecker.  She and Daddy went for a drive yesterday to go bird watching and she snapped this picture before they even got out of our driveway!  She’s going to submit it to “Birds and Blooms” magazine.  We think it’s a fantastic shot!

It’s been fun taking part and it’s a good extra push for me to make sure we do something fun each day.  I like how open it is in terms of what we can do, too– cooking, art, crafts, photography and so on.

It’s also been nice that we often have done more than one thing that day.  Yesterday, for instance, Jack and Victoria also made all sorts of snow recipes.  They mixed fresh snow with milk and sugar to try to make ice cream and also tried honey, orange juice and pixie sticks <G> on top of various batches.   I didn’t get any pics of the process though and I love Anna’s photograph, so I went with that for yesterday’s project.  Other days I’ve had to scramble, like we made the tea at 11 at night!  :)

Anybody else taking part? 

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Make Something Cool Every Day Challenge

Dabbled is embarking on a "Make something cool every day" challenge for the month of April and is inviting others to play along.  We’re going to take part and I’ll post weekly updates here.  You can take part in whatever way you like (crafts, cooking, photography, art…) and you don’t have to take part every day if that doesn’t work for you.  It could be a great way to push yourself to do more neat stuff with the kids, though, which I know I need sometimes.  Anybody else in?

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Magical Moments

Calling all magical mamas!  And dads and grandmas and others.  🙂

Some folks wrote me and said they were going to try doing the birdseed gingerbread house idea I posted the other day.  If you do something from the Magical Childhood site/blog and take a picture or blog about it, I’d love to put it up!

Feel free to share any photos, blog entries, tips or crafts you have that capture any magical times with your kiddos.  I’d really love to share them.  I’ll post a link to your blog or just post your photo and thoughts here.

I’m also thinking of doing some sort of monthly blog carnival of magical moments or perhaps a weekly challenge with a different theme each week.  What do you all think?  Anybody interested?  Anybody even out there?  <G>

Let me know if there’s anything you’d suggest for this blog.  It’s all new to me and I’d love input.

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