Tag Archives: taking care of you

Happy Grief Bacon Day!

We’re having a different sort of holiday today.  We’re celebrating our first annual Kummerspeck (or “Grief Bacon“) Day.

The idea came to me a few days ago.  We’ve all been really fighting the blues in our family.  Winter has been long, cold, snowy and oppressive this year.  The kids have been cooped up and cranky.  I’ve been cooped up and cranky.  We’re all irritable and there’s still more waiting before things are really going to be green and warm.

Victoria had told me about a German word that literally translates to “grief bacon” that describes the weight gained from emotional eating, such as after a loved one dies or during a period of depression.   It was featured in Mental Floss’s  15 Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent.

We’ve talked about that natural instinct to hole up in the house with food as comfort and how it’s definitely not healthy as a general practice but how it really does seem to help when things are really feeling miserable, like after the death of pets and loved ones.

So yesterday I suggested to Daryl that we toss out my typical health-crazed ways and proclaim today a Grief Bacon Day (vegetarian members of our family can call it Grief Popsicle Day).  🙂  He was on board, so we told the kids we were going to all go to the grocery store together and load up on comfort foods that we’d all pick out together and spend the whole day together as a family watching movies, eating junk food and just indulging ourselves in a way we usually don’t.

We spent the morning cleaning together to prepare (who wants to party in a messy house?) and then spread the table with the first round of indulgences.  Jack had picked out frozen fruit so he made us dixie cup fruit sorbets to balance out the chips, dip and other junky items that others picked.  Gluten free pizza, french fries, banana popsicles, 7-up and other goodies followed. 

There’s lots more to come, including more foods and fun non-food items like puzzles and bubbles, marshmallow and toothpicks for building, more movies and crafts. 

Some days you just have to loosen your own rules and look at the big picture.  A full-out, junky family day was just what the doctor ordered.  The mood in our house has done a 180 (and the house looks better too!).

And now, I’m off to watch some more explosions and add to my stomach ache. 

Happy Kummerspeck  Day!


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10 Ways We’ve Made the Day Magical Lately

Happy Monday!  I’m just popping in for a quick post this time.  I’m fighting the blues and swamped with things I should be doing, and I thought it might be good to focus on the magical moments around here lately.  These are only ones that I happen to capture on my iPod, which really made me realize I need to start taking more pictures again!

I highly recommend making your own little list up, either on your own blog of for your own records.  It’s a nice way to remind ourselves of the happy stuff.  🙂

10 random ways we’ve made a little magic here lately….

1.  Went to the children’s museum.  Multiple times!  I love our annual membership, especially when it’s particularly cold, dreary or boring out.  🙂

2.  Helped out at a maple syrup tapping event.  Our family takes part in maple syrup tapping at a local nature camp every year and it’s so much fun (and so tasty — there’s a fabulous all-you-can-eat breakfast feast with real maple syrup from their trees).  My hubby ran the sales table this year and during quiet times he played the dulcimer and taught some other folks to play, and even did an impromptu jam session with some other musicians he struck up a conversation with.  The kids got to play with old friends and we left with full bellies and good memories.

3.  Hugged some trees.  You know we love yarn bombing and it was fun to find these yarn bombed trees.  It’s our goal to do some yarn bombing in our own back yard at some point.

4.  Harvested some walnuts.  You can’t live near Walnut Grove and not gather walnuts, right?  We do a lot of foraging for wild edibles in season, and the kids helped gather tons of walnuts last fall that are now dry enough to start cracking and cooking with.  Alex is particularly fond of helping since it involves hitting things with a hammer.  😉  He also loves to gather the walnuts all autumn, and personally collects bags and bags to bring to Daddy.  Here’s the instructions for harvesting the dried walnuts, courtesy of my hubby, if you ever want to give it a try.

5.  Did blow painting.  Just make up some liquid watercolors (here’s the recipe we use to make wet or dry watercolors) or mix some food coloring with a bit of water, put it in dropper bottles or tiny dishes with eyedroppers, drop it on paper (watercolor paper and other heavy papers work best) and let the kids blow it around with straws.  Be sure to wear craft clothes and protect surfaces, since it can get a little messy.

6.  Visited an art museum with friends.  Since our friends had connections, we even got a private tour!  This particular museum has free admission for all teenagers, courtesy of a grant, and is free after 5 p.m.  Many museums offer similar deals if they’re not free all the time.

7.  Made recycled treasures.  Check out the awesome knight’s garb that Jack made for Alex!  It comes complete with armor, shield, sword and helmet.  🙂

8.  Went to the zoo.  Even my big kids love a day at the zoo!

A red panda being trained, photo courtesy Toria Bayer

Lovely tiger, photo courtesy Anna Bayer

9.  Went snow-shoeing.  Daryl took Toria and Alex to a park event in a nearby town to take part in a naturalist program where they got to snowshoe through a state park.  They loved it, but I’m hoping not to get a chance to snowshoe again for a long, long time!  We got more snow today but it’s melting and I’m really hoping for nothing but mud and grass for a while.  🙂

10.  Tickled and wrestled and played.  And a whole lot of silliness and fun.  (Sorry the pictures are such terrible quality!  They are bad photos but good memories.)  🙂

And with that, I’m off to make some more fun with my kiddos and drag myself out of the blues.  I have to say, that helped a bit!

Focus on what you want more of, chickies.  🙂

I’ll be back soon, even to post something boring!  It’s my new goal! 

Happy Monday!


Filed under Ways to make today magical

Making Your Mom Cave

My sweetie sent me this article about how to make your own Mom Cave today and I thought the advice was worth sharing.

Years ago I had my own den to hide out in, but over time I moved on to give that space over to children.

My “cave” is now a corner of our bedroom, and although it’s tiny I actually love it.  It’s tucked behind a bookshelf right next to a window, and every day I get to look down over a sweet little garden area.

Sometimes I can see my kids playing.  Sometimes I can see blue jays, flickers and other birds visiting our feeders and bird bath.

Sometimes I can see neighbor kids tossing their litter in our yard or Alex go running outside without pants!  But I love my cave and I love the view.

If you don’t have a little corner to call your own, I highly recommend it.  We all need our room with a view — even if it is a corner behind the book shelf.  🙂



Filed under happy stuff

Go Take a Hike

We’ve done a lot of hiking lately, something we don’t get to do too much of in our flat little town surrounding by cornfields.

I have to say that it feeds our souls like nothing else.

We have had a habit for years of stopping by libraries of whatever nearby towns we travel to in our library system, in order to check out piles of new books.  I’ve decided from now on to also try to find hiking spots (even little and unusual ones) on our errands from now on.

Some things are just worth the effort.

Happy weekend!

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Dealing With Icks

We’re back from our fabulous trip to Duluth.  I’m still getting back in the swing of things, but I just saw someone talking online about feeling down because of a nasty mother-in-law and thought I’d dig this up from the old Magical Childhood newsletter archives.

This is for all those magical mamas (and papas and so on) who are dealing with icks out there…


Are friends and relatives down on you for how you parent?

I hear from way too many parents who seem to be surrounded by icks. 

Now we all have to deal with icks in our lives, but some of you poor people seem to have an unfair serving of them.

How do you know if loved ones are icks in your life?

  • If they start most of their sentences with “If I were you….”.
  • If you can’t remember the last time they paid you a compliment.
  • If you get a panic attack when they pull into your drive.
  • If you have been known to clean the oven to get away from them.
  • If their advice makes you feel bad about yourself.
  • If you would choose elective surgery over an evening in their company.

What should you do about icks in your life?

Well, the obvious answers (booby traps, fire extinguishers, hornets…) are too hard to coordinate.  Plus, icks tend to have the sticking power of starved leeches, probably because they’re so used to having people push them over and take off running to get away from them.

So what should you do?  Here are some suggestions.

  • Take up a hobby that will reduce the amount of time you can spend with them.
  • Get caller ID.
  • When they offer unwanted advice about how you parent, look thoughtful and say “That’s interesting, it’s exactly the opposite of what our doctor told me.”
  • Tell them you’ve just been diagnosed with a severe ulcer and have been told to eliminate stress at all costs. Whenever they start to say something you don’t like, grab your stomach and moan.
  • Every time they start to give advice, jump up and suddenly remember something you have to do in the next room. They’re icky, not stupid.  They’ll get it.
  • Compliment them extensively for anything good they do. Icks are dreadfully insecure and are used to everybody thinking they’re heinous (they are, after all).  Therefore, nobody compliments them, even though lots of people may pretend to be their friends.  Find anything real and gush over it.  And be sincere.  Redirection works for your two year old so why not try it on your father in law.
  • Avoid them. I’ve done this for years.  Hey, they don’t pay any cash for having social graces towards icky people.  Why exactly should I play nicely with the old friend who treats me like an idiot?  Why visit the relative who makes me feel bad about myself?  Pfft.  People whom you did not give birth to have to earn the right to your company.
  • Find better people. If you surround yourself with enough neat people you’ll be better equipped to blow off the obnoxious ones.  Even an online group of supportive friends can work wonders to drown out the drone of a lecturing relative.  At the very least you can vent and have somebody say “poor thing” and “they suck” a lot.
  • Remember the most important thing:  You’re great and they’re wrong. 🙂 Any time some ick is prattling on at you about how you should spank your child for not staying at the supper table, or how you’re ruining your baby by holding him, or how your house is too messy or your kid is too shy, then I want you to picture me saying it again. You’re great and they’re wrong.


(Apologies but you’ll have to picture me saying it on a camel, since this seems to be the only recent picture I can find of myself.  But it kind of adds a nice touch, don’t you think?)


Got it?  One more time.  You’re great and they’re wrong.


And I know it’s true, too.  For one thing, the type of person who tells other people what’s wrong with them is always wrong.  It’s science.  A law of nature.  Nice people don’t lecture.  So it’s proof– the minute they open their mouths and find fault you have it.

You’re great and they’re wrong.

And if they’re still too rude to take, you send ’em to me.  😉


Filed under the big stuff

Veggie Match Cards, Mama Mojo and Perfume From Flowers

Katherine Marie Photography has the most adorable little veggie cards for you to print out and use for games like Concentration or Go Fish!  Click here to get your set.

In other news…

Nine ways to get your mama mojo back

and Making flowers into perfume

Happy Tuesday!


Filed under neat stuff elsewhere

It Must be Something in the Eggnog…

Some of my favorite mama friends are so stressed right now.
Kids are being hyper or angry or weepy.
Tempers are short
and it just doesn’t feel very magical.

Please please please
take it easy on yourself.

The holidays are about good stuff, remember?

Take a breath, take a bath, say no to something
and focus on the good stuff.
There is good stuff right now —
you just have to slow down and see it.

You are good stuff.
You are a fabulous, loving, giving mama
who is doing a good job.
The kids will get better.
Give them some hugs.
Snuggle up and slow down and be sweet
and they’ll come back to normal.

And in the meantime,
here’s ways to take care of you.
There’s three pages of them.
Do lots.

Happy Friday.

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Beating the Winter Blahs

A lot of people are feeling down right now.  Winter has been dragging on and lots of us have been housebound and sun-deprived.  Kids have cabin fever, parents are stressed about economic worries and the world tends towards gray and dreary.

I’ve been battling winter blahs myself lately.  It seems like this time of year always gets to me.  I am not a fan of 5 months of cold and gray.  🙂 

Here’s some things that help pick me up…

  • Simmer a big pot of water on the stove all day and dump in anything that smells good (spices, potpourri, fruit peels, a few drops of essential oils…).  It will help beat those winter colds, humidify the air and lift your spirits with heavenly scents.  Likewise, bake something that both smells and tastes fabulous.
  • Take advantage of the sunshine and get outside for a while with the kids, even if it’s cold.  Sunlight really does affect our moods, and the fresh air will do you good.
  • Put on a favorite CD and dance with the kiddos.  The exercise will release feel-good endorphins, you’ll burn some calories and happy music can’t help but make a dent in even the grouchiest mood.
  • Call a friend who makes you laugh.
  • Get some perspective.  As tough as times are, most of us are still pretty darn lucky.  Spend 15 minutes reading the blog of a mom who’s just lost her child to cancer and you really remember what matters.
  • Ask for help.  If you’re overwhelmed with life, whether from a new baby or just juggling too much, it’s okay to lean on people.  Many people are happy to help if they know what you need.  Even if it’s just asking your hubby to watch all of the kids for an hour so you can soak in the bathtub, give people an opportunity to help.  Likewise, help others who need it.  It’s one of the quickest ways out of a funk for me.  If you feel you are seriously depressed, talk to a doctor or therapist.
  • Pamper yourself and your family.  Make comfort food, wear your coziest pajamas, watch favorite movies, sleep in, be especially nice to yourself and each other.
  • Get enough sleep.  Sleep deprivation affects everything from health to weight to mood.  It’s tempting to stay up late to catch up on things, but it’s vital to get all the sleep we can. 
  • Be especially loving.  When we’re feeling down, it tends to be contagious.  Chances are the rest of the family is too, and that leads to an endless loop of everybody dragging everybody farther down.  Be especially nice to your sweetie.  Give your kids extra hugs.  Tell them you love them and why.
  • Wear a colorful spring outfit or put on red lipstick, anything that makes you feel festive or pretty.  Unless you’re a dad.  😉
  • Be present.  Really pay attention to your children and take it all in.  We get so caught up in coping sometimes that we go on autopilot and next thing we know we’re wondering how our babies could possibly be so grown up.  Get down on their level and play.  Watch them sleep.  Listen to their funny laughs.  Pay attention when they ramble on while you’re trying to get the kitchen cleaned.  Better yet, stop cleaning and play.  As crazy-making as these times can be, some day they’ll be gone and chances are we’ll miss them. 
  • Laugh and smile, like it or not!  😉  There’s something to the old saying "fake it till you make it."  Studies have shown that smiling really does make us feel happier and laughing is plain old good for you.
  • Make some changes.  We only get one life and it passes quickly.  Don’t coast through it or waste today waiting for tomorrow.  Fix the stuff that you can.  Make it good!  It’s worth the trouble.  🙂
  • Play.  One of the perks of parenthood is the excuse to do fun stuff with our children.  Play marbles or Hyper Dash (we love that game) or Uno or catch.  Build block towers.  Race Matchbox cars.  Make paper dolls.  Climb a tree.  Have a snowball fight.  Play with play dough.  Swing.  Finger paint.  Spin tops.  Do the hand jive.  Go sledding.  Have fun!  It’s good for you.

Last week I was in a real funk.  The week before that I was too, and the week before that. This week I have sailed down a sledding hill with a grinning toddler, played toilet paper toss in my kitchen, got together with friends, spent several hours in a park on a sunny day, colored with my kids and really got down and enjoyed my one year-old.  I feel better than I have in months.  I just might survive winter after all.

Oh yeah.  Chocolate helps too.  🙂

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