I haven't put anything aside this week so I'm just going to scurry around and find as much neat stuff as I can, ending with some sort of list of ways to make the day better.
As I said last week, words have failed me lately, but I want to say again how very sorry I am for all those who lost loved ones. You're in my heart.
I'm moving on with a pretty upbeat newsletter, not to minimize our nation's loss, sadness or fear, but because that's what surviving is all about. One of my favorite quotes is that happiness is a choice, and I feel that the same is true for courage and hope. Much of the future is out of our hands. No amount of sadness or worry can help that. What is in our hands is how we spend every day that we have and how our children remember these days.
It's going to be okay.
Lisa in Michigan (Teddybear) posted the following little story on a gardening list that I was on, and I loved it so much I saved it. She gave me permission to share it with you.
Each night my daughter asks for a thought to start her dreams, and I usually spin her a little tale to spark her imagination - tonight's involved faeries and lightning bugs, and fading sunlight glowing through treetops and my sweet girl dancing with a swirling skirt made all of ... delphinium blossoms. Sweet dreams, baby!
Art can be a powerful tool for kids to deal with their emotions. Many children are fearful, sad or confused right now. They may not have the words to express themselves but may get a lot out of activities like painting, improv music or writing poetry.
Even young children can write poetry. It doesn't have to rhyme or follow any set pattern. You can help them start by reading them some poems by others about emotions and then giving them a sort of skeleton poem to fill out. Help them through it, using your own examples when needed but not enough to stifle other directions they'd go besides yours.
Here are a couple to start with.
Today I feel __________
like a ________.
I wish ___________
so we could ____________.
I know ___________.
I want to be as __________
as a __________.
I dreamed __________
Everything looked _______
and I felt ___________
What I want is _______
From there, kids can add more lines or take out ones they don't like. They can string together a bunch of random words that sound like how they feel. You get the idea. If your kids do write some poems, feel free to send them in and I'll put them in the next newsletter!
Other ways that kids could express themselves artistically include creative dance, short stories, performing a play, collages of images they cut out to show how they feel, sculpture with clay, or decorating paper masks to show emotions kids might be feeling. They may feel safer telling you how other kids might be feeling than saying it's how they feel.
Magical mama Aileen shared the following site
that helps children create their own web pages.
Starting this week, I'll be including crafts in each issue that can be used for gift giving. We're getting ready to start making holiday presents here so we're not rushed come December. If you don't celebrate holidays they can still be used for family anniversaries or just I love you day. :)
Hopefully, each craft will be easy enough for young kids to either help with or make completely, plus actually neat enough that people will be glad to get them! I remember the presents I made for my mother and bless her heart, only she coulda loved some of that stuff! G!
Here's the first project, one of my personal favorites.
The great thing about bath salts is that you can mix and match to suit whatever you need or whatever's in your pantry. The other great thing is that they're so inexpensive to make. The other great thing is they're so luxurious to use.... Okay, there are lots of great things about em...
Essential oil (EO) (lavender is especially relaxing) **
powdered milk (softens skin)
Coarse kosher salt
Glycerin (about 2 tbs. per pound of salts)
Baby or mineral oil (same amount as above) (Scented oils will produce scented bath salts)
Finely powdered herbs
Get a clean glass jar with a lid and fill about 2/3 full with epsom salts (use glass to preserve the scent). Add several drops of EO per cup (the more you add the stronger it will be, a little goes a long way) and a few drops of food coloring if desired. Shake well. Little kids can be enlisted for this part. Add milk or baking soda, if desired, or whatever you want to mix in. Shake well again.
(Take care not to add too many ingredients that might combine with each other, like powdered milk and oil. I add only one or two optional ingredients to any one batch, especially if I add liquid of any sort.)
Cut a square of scrap fabric with pinking shears slightly larger than your lid. Glue to the top and fasten with a rubber band covered with a ribbon. Put a shell in the jar or attach it with the ribbon, for scooping.
Make up a little card or label that says "______'s bath salts. Directions: pour 1/2 cup or so under running water and enjoy."
**Note: some EOs can irritate skin. Make sure the variety you buy is one that's gentle enough for the bath (ask). EOs are available online, at health food stores and craft stores, among other places. Get pure essential oils, not just carrier oils flavored with extracts. The real stuff costs a little more but lasts eons!
Here are some scents that are especially nice, along with the moods they inspire.
To energize: peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus
(these help headaches as well)
To relax: lavender, chamomile
To lift moods: geranium, lemongrass and other citrus (citrus causes irritation in some folks and sensitivity to the sun after use)
Plus tons more. Kids can even create their own signature scents!
For lots of bath recipes from PMS formulas to bath oil to wedding gifts, check out this wonderful site. http://www.luxurylane.com/thelibrary/recipes.htm
20 Ways to Make Today Better.......
1. Mail thank-you cards to a veterans' hospital.
2. Rent some wonderful movies that have nothing to do with current events-- "Mary Poppins," the original animated "Jungle Book" or any old Disney movie.
3. Pile every blanket in the house on the living room floor and proclaim it a snuggle night. Watch movies, play games, read books or just talk. Wear comfy pajamas and keep the lights low and comforting too.
4. Go to the library and find a wonderful book to adventure to as a family.
5. Get together with another family for play time for the kids and adult interaction for mom or dad.
6. This is a good time of year for planting trees and shrubs. Take the kids to a nursery and pick out a small rosebush, blueberry bush or tree. Adopt it as a family and plant it. Not only will it be a fun addition to the yard but it will also reinforce to children that the future is strong and safe. If you don't have a yard, some small trees and bushes can happily live in pots. Ask your nursery employee for help finding a nice tough one that will work well for you.
7. Help your kids make up a newsletter. Encourage them to insert photos or art, interview somebody, write articles about family current events, etc. Most word processing programs make them pretty easy, or just do it by hand on paper and make copies.
8. If you can afford it, take a "vacation" at a hotel in your own town. Just get away for a night and treat yourselves. Ask about the best price they can give you. Most places will go a lot lower if you just ask.
9. Play dress up with the kids. You too! Use old clothes and even sheets. With some scarves and safety pins, you'd be surprised what you can make out of a silly old sheet. You're ready for the Oscars. ;)
10. Make today a special occasion. Whatever you save for special occasions-- the good coffee, china, eating in the dining room, wearing your best perfume or lipstick-- enjoy it today and more often during regular life.
11. Turn on the oldies radio station. Some of those songs are guaranteed to get you bopping and singing badly!
12. Go to church. If you belong to a church, go when nobody else does and just enjoy the quiet peace and connection to a higher power. Better yet, go to someone else's church. It's like meeting a loved one's other friends. :)
13. Make a change. If you smoke, you have a 50% chance of dying from it. I guarantee you that your odds of any other calamity befalling you are still lower than that. Fix something you do have control over, and keep yourself around longer for your family in the bargain. This also applies to changing your diet, lifestyle or any other unhealthy habits. By the way, grumpiness is an unhealthy lifestyle too.
14. Or cut yourself some slack. If you're trying to do too much or just feeling overloaded, give yourself permission to make it easier on yourself. If you've been depriving yourself for ages, have some treats!
15. Play tag, football, frisbee or something else that gets you moving outside. Play till exhaustion! You'll be surprised how good it feels.
16. Go collect pine cones, grapevine or leaves for craft projects with the kids.
17. Make up dozens of cookies and deliver them to local police, firefighters or service members.
18. Write up "50 things I love about you" for someone you adore, and give it to her. It won't just make her day but it'll fill you with happy memories and a renewed sense of goodness. Involve your kids, or make them the recipients.
19. Go clean up a park or roadside as a family. Leave a red, white and blue ribbon tied to a tree in place of the trash.
20. Collect hugs. Tell the kids that today everybody is going to keep track of how many hugs they can get. Enlist the help of friends, family and neighbors to try to get the most hugs. Pick a prize if you want, but everybody really wins.
Tonight, Victoria asked me if we could light a candle for "those people who are hurt" again. Curious how much she had retained of what we'd talked about, I asked her which people. She said, "I don't know their names. The people who are hurt. Can we send a fire up for them?".
I think that sums up these times for those of us who are hurting around the world. We don't know the names of the people we're praying for, but we're sending fires up for them.
We're sending up fires for those around the world who lost loved ones to the attacks, to the Canadians who are flying American flags on their houses, to my Irish friend whose university shut down for a day of mourning, and for the children, women and men of Afghanistan who have suffered so much at the hands of our common enemies. We're also sending up fires for the members of the armed forces here and throughout the world who are being enlisted in this fight, and for their families.
You're all in our prayers.
A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2001, Alicia Bayer
A Magical Childhood Newsletter is just something I throw together because I love children and those who love them. To subscribe, send a message to email@example.com. We do not use ads. It's not about money. :)
Feel free to pass this on. Don't steal it, that would be rude.