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!