Tag Archives: magical moments

Making Hospital Stays a Little Easier

This week I got a letter from Magical Mama Helen in Australia, looking for ideas on how to make hospital stays a little easier.  Her four year-old sweetie, Asha Rose, has Cystic Fibrosis.  She just completed her first hospital stay and has more in her future (along with time at home with nursing care and IV’s and such).  She has an older son to keep entertained, as well.

Victoria helped me brainstorm some ideas on how to make the time in bed a little more fun.  We thought we’d do several installments.  Here are the first 15 ideas.  Please write in and share your own suggestions too!

  1. Do altered books.  Here’s a page I wrote up about altering books on the Magical Childhood site a while back.  The link to our own pages is expired.  If anybody wants to see some examples of our pages, let me know and I’ll post some.
  2. Read really fabulous read-aloud books.  Some of our favorites at that age were the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series, the Paddington Bear series, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Pippi Longstocking and Amelia Bedelia books.
  3. Bring a tape recorder and do interviews with each other.  Also record her singing songs, telling jokes, acting out funny made up characters and other silly fun.  Kids tend to especially love hearing their own voices back.  You can also ask loved ones to tape themselves reading sweet poems, telling stories or singing songs.
  4. Make pretty flower pens to keep and to give as presents.  Get some artificial flowers and some ballpoint pens, along with some floral tape, masking tape or even duct tape.  Cut the flowers till the stems are just a couple of inches long and tape flush to the end of the pen.  Now nobody can accidentally walk off with your pen, and it makes writing even the most boring thing into something fancy and fun!
  5. Wrap up little gifts so that each day in the hospital she has another little treat to unwrap.
  6. To make it even more special, make miniature pinatas to smash open every day!  Use strips of newspaper or crepe paper dipped in watered down glue to papier mache over blown up water balloons, leaving a hole at the tied end to put the treat in.  Let dry for a few days, pop the balloon and pull it out, fill with a little treat and glue a piece of crepe paper over the hole.  Here’s a variation to try, too.  Ideas for treats– a glass prism to hang in the window, lip gloss, a ring, a foreign coin, mini bubbles, a pretty shell, a tiny doll or an animal figurine.  This is something that older siblings could help out with, too.
  7. Give her pony beads and pipe cleaners to make bracelets.
  8. Glue a large piece of felt to an empty cereal box and then cut lots of clothing shapes out of different colors of felt to make a portable fashion design kit.  Cut a couple of people and draw some faces on them in permanent marker and then use different colors to cut various types of hair, shirts, pants, skirts, hats, accessories, you name it.  Make sure to make some elaborate and silly!  Store them in the box when not in use.
  9. Make magic wands from sticks or dowels and magic markers, paint pens, ribbon, etc.
  10. Bring a laptop and watch funny animal videos on you-tube.
  11. Give her some plain white tennies and washable markers and let her decorate her shoes and then rinse them in water to start over next time.
  12. For more permanent fashion, give her a few plain, light colored shirts and an assortment of permanent markers.  Let her draw and decorate them to her heart’s content and then spray them with vinegar to set.  These may still fade somewhat.  You can use fabric pens if you want something really pemanent.
  13. Print out some really fabulous paper dolls from movies, fantasy and history.  I’ve posted this site before but it is my all-time favorite.
  14. Get a big pack of crayons and paper and give out art assignments (draw an animal nobody’s ever seen before, draw a silly hairstyle…).
  15. While the kids are asleep, decorate the living room (or hospital room) with streamers, confetti and a big banner that announces a made up holiday.




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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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The Good, The Bad and Heaping Bowls of Ice Cream

Yesterday, we had one of those really magical days.  Victoria and Anna had the third and final day of their Survivor day camp at a wonderful ecology center.  Jack and I explored the woods around them and discovered wonderful child-built forts, meandering springs and some pretty breathtaking scenery.  The air was filled with cottonwood seeds, which look like giant dandelion seeds and some folks say are fairies.  We caught them and made wishes on them and blew them back to the wind. 


The boys and I went to the park with Daddy while the girls had their last afternoon adventure.  We played with a zipcar we picked up at a garage sale, explored a gazebo, played at the playground and split an entire box of ice cream treats to cool off.  Daryl even found me a four leaf clover.


Then we headed back to pick up the girls, who had made wonderful friends and got email addresses and phone numbers.  They showed us their forts and took us off into the woods for more magical adventures.  There were big fluffy dogs.  There were even s’mores. 


Dinner was quick, simple and delicious (mushrooms and asparagus sauteed in garlic butter over rice, with asparagus we bought from a sweet gentleman selling it out of his car by the side of the road).  The children went to sleep nicely. 

I am not sure, but I believe there were cartoon bluebirds circling our heads at least once. 

Today… was not so magical!

Today, it rained and was cold and dreary.  Today, we had to clean the living room to prepare for the delivery of Daddy’s new chair.  Today, the kids squabbled and screeched.  Today, Alex pulled all of the long and lovely dangly bits off of my very green and pretty (and very dangly) plant and left them in a heap on the window seat.

Oh yes, and there was the migraine.  Sigh.

Today, I did my best to make it till bedtime!

Daryl and the girls are in a summer play that they do every year, and that means rehearsals every weeknight in June.  So tonight, my boys, myself and my migraine were on our own.  It was a long end to a long day!

I tried reading books to the boys, but Alex was more in a "let’s throw everything in sight" mood (and our house has a lot in sight).  I killed an hour with my old standby, the bathtub.  I even dragged the playpen up from the basement, vacuumed up the crumbs and wiped down the dust, and tried putting Alex in that for a ten minute break.

He was out in less than one. 

So I went with my last straw coping mechanism– a walk.  I padded the soaking stroller with a dry blanket on the bottom, plopped in a newly happy toddler, covered him with another blanket, and headed out with my two (generally) favorite small boys.

We walked and we walked and we walked some more.  Jack rode his scooter and chattered nonstop.  I was cold and still had a migraine. 

But I had to laugh despite myself when Jack tried to ride his scooter through a puddle that ended up being more of a lake.  The surprised look on his face was priceless!  It was even more priceless when he decided he liked it and rode through it anyway.  Halfway down the street he ditched his scooter and ran back one more time to run through it since it was so much fun.


Alex was happily contained.  I noticed a lovely heart-shaped creeping charlie vine crawling up the back screen door. The cat even escaped to come love on us.



No bluebirds appeared and my migraine never did go away.  Jack was soaked and cold and we eventually had to go home.  I plopped Jack in a bubble bath and kept Alex from setting anything on fire while I cooked dinner one-handed.  And eventually, my reinforcements came home.  Dinner was cooked and Alex mercifully dropped off to sleep.

Some days are magical, some aren’t.  That’s the nature of parenthood.  The trick of it is to find a way to just keep going on those not so magical days, and maybe catch glimpses of the magic that happens anyway.

The other trick is to keep the freezer stocked with ice cream.  Or at least that’s mine.  😉

Happy weekend!



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One of Those Days (in the good way)

Today was one of those days that just about makes up for 3 months of children squabbling, dreary weather, colds, flus and piled up laundry.  😉 

We started the day with a gymnastics party in a nearby city with lots of neat families and then talked some friends into picking up drive-thru and meeting us at a nearby park for a picnic and some playing.

The weather was perfect and nearly 80 degrees, which is a big deal for spring in Minnesota!  The kids ended up playing, climbing, hiking and wading in a creek trying to catch tiny fish that nibbled on their toes. 

I got to chat with one of those friends who ought to be high calorie, she’s so fantastic to be around.  My little guy got to run and explore, the bigger kids got to spend time with kids they adore and the scenery was divine.  I missed warm weather so much!  I think the miserable cold is designed to make us realllllllllly appreciate when the good stuff comes back.  😉

We are spending the night at Grandma & Grandpa’s to take part in some more fun stuff tomorrow in town.  Tonight, Grandma & the kids & I went walking to the school playground to play.  It took 45 minutes to walk half a mile (toddler speed) but it was so nice. 

At the playground, some little girls came by with their dogs on leashes and one of them invited Victoria to play a game of Horse at the basketball hoop.  Victoria said the girl was very sweet and kept telling her "good shot" and "nice try."  Best of all, she happily told me "I didn’t even know I was good at basketball!".  She won!

This was the sort of day I try to hang on to for later.  I’ll shove all those boring and annoying ones aside in my memory bank and maybe when I look back in my old age I’ll think it was all this good.  😉

Do try to get out with your kids if your weather cooperates!  Call up the most fun person you know and make her/him come play.  I highly recommend it!

Happy weekend all!


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Just a Little Magic

Years ago, when my first child was very little, I decided that I wanted to do everything I could to make my children’s lives magical.  I don’t mean in material ways or with things like trips to Disneyland (though I would love to do that with them at least once). 

It’s just that looking back at my own childhood, I couldn’t really remember very many truly happy, silly moments.  I had a few flashes — feeding the ducks with my mother or the time she put on a helmet and a blanket like a superhero and acted like a crazy hunchback on my new moped — but I could count them on one hand (and have fingers left over).  And that sort of happy memory really takes so little work.

It’s just a few minutes of silliness, a short walk and talk at dusk, a bottle of bubbles on a windy day… these little things make memories that make up the patchwork of a happy childhood. 

Sure, that’s not all it takes.  We need to keep them safe and happy and healthy and all the biggies.  But those little moments go an awful long way.

A long time ago I set a goal for myself to try to do something magical with my kids every day.  There are plenty of days where we don’t meet that goal, but I like having it as a challenge. 

Last night’s magic was #4 on my list of ways to make the day magical from yesterday.  I had just a little ice cream left and decided to make the most of it.  I had the kids clear the table and then I put down 3 dish towels, one in front of each child.  I scooped 2 little scoops of ice cream on a saucer for each child and kept them out of sight.  Then I told the kids, "There are two rules for dessert tonight — you can’t make a mess, and you can’t use your hands."

Victoria (who’s almost 11 and nearing that age of disliking making a fool of herself) looked skeptical.  Jack (who’s 5 and can just be argumentative) looked defiant.  Both started to protest and I told them they didn’t have to do it my way if they didn’t want to.  Anna (who’s 9 and loves silliness) broke into a huge grin and couldn’t wait to start.  The other two caught her enthusiasm.

My three big kids happily licked and laughed their way through dessert, which took a surprising amount of time with no hands.  🙂  Victoria announced that it made a little ice cream go a long way. 

It didn’t really take any extra time or effort to serve ice cream on saucers with silly rules.  It did lead to a lot of smiles (and some funny pictures) though.  Hopefully, when my kids look back on their childhoods they will have more than a handful of memories that make them smile.  I know I have a lot of memories of parenthood that are magical, which is awfully nice too.

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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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