Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 21
October 9, 2001

Hi again folks.  I hope you're having a good week.  We've had a house full of sickies here since Thursday, but hopefully we're in the home stretch.  It's hard to watch your kids miserable.  Luckily, the girls took turns-- Annalee on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and Victoria from Sunday on.  My poor sweeties!

Daryl and I are a bit zombie-like ourselves.  I've decided to self-medicate with less housework and more chocolate.  ;)  So far, my stomach is worse but I'm happier!

I continue to keep all those affected by the terrorist attacks and the new war in my prayers.

The beauty of fall is pretty fleeting.  Take time to enjoy it before it's gone!

And now, on with the rambling........


You know how much kids love Dressing up.  Here's a way to take it a step further and add a lot more creativity.  Show them how to make their own designer clothes!

It's easy.  Start collecting material from all different sources.  Old sheets are great.  So are old prom dresses for the great fabric.  You can also just use discarded fabric remnants or your own ruined clothes.  Have a ripped silk shirt?  Let the kids turn it into the newest fashion.

Besides fabric, they'll need easy ways to hold their creations together.  Scarves are great for this.  You can get them for a quarter or less at most thrift stores.  Belts are great, too.  I also recommend oversized safety pins if the kids are old enough to use them safely.  If they get really serious, you can get some fusible tape and iron pieces together for them.

As they get into this, you may want to give them markers for decorating (who wants a plain white dress when you can add your own flowers?) and even bits of trim and sewing glue to attach details.  Older kids can use needle and thread to add decorations or to join simple pieces, too.  Make scissors available to those who are old enough to use them wisely and you're set.

Here are some examples of the creations they can make.....

-- Drape a sheet over one shoulder and tie the two ends there.  Belt and you have a toga style full length gown.

--Gather material across chest and tie behind back for a strapless dress.  Once on, have your assistant cut the hemline into handkerchief points or scallops.  Pin shut in back, draw a design going down the front, add beads.

--Take a ruined blazer of dads and cut off the arms.  Glue on squares of other fabric and decorate them to look like patches.  Use a safety pin and cloth to make medals.

--Take a long strip of fabric and wind it all around yourself, tucking in the end, for a mermaid look.

--Take a triangle of fabric and tie it around your waist to make a sarong skirt.  Tie a scarf around your chest to make a halter. Tuck in fake flowers.

Don't forget to take pictures!

What a wonderful life I've had!
I only wish I'd realized it sooner.

~ Colette


Grow Bean, Grow!

 What you need:
 dry lima beans (soaked in water for several hours)
 cotton balls
 small glass jar

 Fill the jar with cotton balls. Place the beans  between the cotton and the side of the jar, so they are visible.  Dampen the cotton balls.  Keep the jar on a sunny windowsill.  Watch the roots, stem and leaves form!

from: (where you can find those appropriate fall crafts too)

A Quick Victorian Present ~ Tea cup candles!

This is a beautiful, simple gift to make.  Find an old teacup and saucer, some wax (scraps or purchased) and a birthday candle.  Melt the wax in a metal coffee can that's been placed in a pot of simmering water (parents do this part!).  You can mix colors by adding bits of used candles or even crayons.  Once melted, pour a small amount in the bottom of the teacup, let harden slightly, and insert the birthday candle into the middle.  Hold in place until it's fairly firm.  It will be your wick.  Carefully pour the wax the rest of the way into the teacup.

You can glue the cup to the saucer with strong glue or make a weaker bond by just pouring a bit of hot wax into the saucer and letting it harden with the teacup in place on top.  Adding a few drops of essential oil to the hot wax will personalize the gift even more.

You can find teacups at thrift shops or garage sales for next to nothing.  Have fun!

Quick Edible Art Ideas for.....

Babies: Mix some baby oatmeal with a couple of drops of food coloring, tape a piece of paper down, and let him finger-paint in his high chair.  For extra fun, use two bowls and two colors.  Incidentally, this is the only way I could get my babies to eat oatmeal, as paint!

Toddlers: Put some vanilla yogurt in a ziploc bag and add a couple of drops of one color food coloring to one side and another to a separate part in the bag.  Close the bag (seal with tape if your child is good at opening them) and give her the bag.  Let her mash the colors through the yogurt, watching as the colors spread and mix.  You can put a few crunchy things in for texture if you like, too, and talk about how they feel.

When your child has mixed the bag well, snip a tiny piece of the corner of the bag and show her how to pipe the yogurt in designs onto a plate.  Give her a piece of fruit to drag through the designs and use as a spoon.

Preschoolers: Make pancakes and set out ingredients to make faces on them.  You can make eyes out of chocolate chips or raisins, mouths out of piped strawberry jelly, freckles from sprinkles of cinnamon, teeth from mini marshmallows.... raid the pantry and see what else you can come up with.

Alternately, let them just create art on their pancakes.  They can dribble designs with piped jelly, draw stripes with a toothpick dipped in chocolate syrup, cover sections and sprinkle powdered sugar on the parts that remain (doilies make great designs)....

Grade schoolers: Bake a cake together and give him a variety of cake decorating tools to frost it himself.  Alternately, let him "decorate" dinner.  Mashed potatoes pipe beautifully around meat loaf!  Use a pastry bag and different tips to make swirled butter pats or to fill twice baked potatoes.  Sprinkle with fresh, snipped herbs and really pay attention to designs.  It'll be too pretty to eat!

Teens: Try your hands at candy making together.  Get some books from the library and experiment making homemade taffy, lollipops or chocolate covered cherries.  They make inexpensive presents for kids to give-- if any are left from sampling.  ;)


10 ways to make today magical:

1.  Go for a moonlight walk and enjoy the changing of the seasons.  Talk about all that you enjoyed about this summer with your kids (or winter, for those of you in the southern hemisphere) and all that you're looking forward to in the months to come.

2.  Find some hidden part of the house (or part of your belongings if you rent) and help your kids scribble messages about who they are now.  Years from now you'll be able to take out that dresser drawer and see your little boy's words underneath or crawl in the closet and see who your daughter was in second grade.

3.  Totally doll up the dining room table for supper tonight.  Gather leaves to scatter on the tablecloth, make an arrangement of cut twigs, flowers or grasses.  Use pine cones, candles, acorns or treasures from around the house to make it a work of art.

4.  After dark, sneak outside with the kids and howl at the moon.  Never mind the neighbors.  They're no fun anyway.  ;)

5.  Go cruising with the radio turned up too loud.  Take turns choosing the music.  Sing along and hand jive.

6.  Play hide-and-go-seek in the house.

7.  Leave a thank you card under his pillow, telling him how much he means to you and how much you appreciate what a fantastic kid he is.

8.  Brag about your daughter on the phone when you know she can hear.  Tell how proud you are of her and how great she is.  It'll mean more to her than you'd guess.

9.  Have a giving contest.  Tell the whole family that you're having a challenge to see who can do the nicest thing for someone else (outside of the family).  If you like, you can have a new contest every day of the week, with the winner each day getting a small reward like wearing a silly crown during supper.  Whoever wins the most during the week gets to pick a neat thing to do on the weekend.  Make sure the real reward is seeing how happy you make people.

10. Burn up a whole roll of film being as silly, goofy and funny looking as you can be.  Frame some of the pictures and leave them out as a reminder to be silly more often.


I'm closing with a little thing I wrote a few months ago, half to myself, half to a friend.  On those days when I envy those moms who have shaved legs, eight hours of sleep a night and a social life outside of toddlers, I remind myself that it really is never going to end.... which is exactly why it's wonderful.  ;)

The Never-ending Parent

Sometimes it's hard to be a good parent.
Sometimes you wonder why you're not like others
Who make themselves the priority, who are stern and unyielding
Or who let everybody else take care of their kids.
Sometimes you envy them their time, their space,
Their full night's sleep.

Sometimes you start doubting yourself and wondering
If you really are just crazy, being this kind of parent
In this kind of world.

Your house is noisy and full of chaos
And you wonder if it will last forever.

I have a secret.  If you keep this up....
It will.

Think of it.

When you get up at 3 a.m. because your baby cries, think of the time
When he's a teenager and calls at 3 a.m. to say he needs a ride
Instead of getting in the car with his drunk friends
Because he knows he can be honest with you and that he can count on you.

When you take the time to explain "why" for the hundredth time today
Wondering if you will ever get a moment's peace and quiet,
Think of the days when your daughter is grown and on her own
And will still call because she loves your conversations.

When you discount all the well-meaning people who tell you to let your baby cry
And you go to him, hold him, comfort him anyway
Think ahead to the times when he'll be a strong, secure, independent kid
And those people say "I don't know how you were blessed with such an easy child."

When you nurse your daughter and hold her close
Spoiling her with all that love and care, think of the time
When you'll overhear her tell a friend
"My mom and I have always been so close."

When the house is full of noise, mess and chaos
Think of the days when the kids are grown, and it will start all over
With your grandchildren, because your family is so bonded
That everybody still gathers at your loving home.

No, if you keep this up it will never change.
Your children will be in your life forever.
And honey, you'll love the noise.


And with that, darlings, I'm outta here.  I have two noisy girls who are in dire need of some stories and cuddling.  Have a good week, stay safe, and don't forget to take care of you!

Till next time,


A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2001, Alicia Bayer

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