Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 22
October 23, 2001

Hi Folks!  I hope you're enjoying the autumn weather and staying safe and healthy.

We just got back from a wonderful trip with friends to Wisconsin Dells.  It was lots of fun and I'm planning on putting a web page up on the Magical Childhood site about what we saw, did and recommend.

I've set aside lots of crafts, ideas and whatnot for y'all so I'll just dive right in........

And of course I have to start with this subject!


Here are all sorts of sites, recipes and fun for those of you who take part in this spooky holiday....


1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons hot water
Red food coloring (if needed)
A little baby powder

Mix gelatin and hot water in a small bowl and stir till the gelatin thickens. Add the food color to a small amount of the scar goop, if you want the scar to be 'fresh'. Use a wooden craft stick or your fingertip to apply the "scar" to your skin.  Dust with a small amount of baby powder until it resembles skin.

Face Paint

1 1/2 tbsp. solid shortening
food coloring
3 tbsp. cornstarch

Mix shortening and cornstarch together in a bowl. Mix until smooth. Add food coloring to mixture. If you want more than one color, divide it into small jars first, then add a different color of food coloring to each jar. Store in the jars.

Use your fingers or a make-up sponge to cover your whole face with face paint. Use a small paintbrush to paint designs. You can also use small stencils. If paint is too thick, add a little bit of water and mix well.

A zillion Halloween Sites, Links and Activities......

Tips on making your own costumes.....

Halloween Carols......

Lanterns of Liberty

Sponsored by Pumpkin Masters, this site offers three free downloadable patterns for carving patriotic lantern designs in pumpkins. The designs include the head of the Statue of Liberty, the United States Flag, and a "United We Stand" design.

And last but not least, a great way to combine trick or treating with helping folks.  This was posted by an anonymous person on a web site I stumbled on....

Another way to help:
Trick-or-Treat for the food bank!

We did this every year from the time I was about 14 until I left high school and I know they continued it at least 5 years after that.

A group or organization gets together to back it (a church, school, hs group, club, scouts - whatever), get free advertising from tv and radio stations and the newspapers so people know about it ahead of time. Make up some kind of id for the kids to wear on their costumes or carry with them, be sure it includes a phone number for where ever the 'base' for the night is (the place the kids meet and head out from and return to with the food - ours was always my house) so people can call to check up if they want. We always dressed up in costumes and went door to door just like regular trick or treaters but we had bags for the food donations to go in. some of us were on foot and would just go back to the base house when our bags were full or too heavy, then head out again. Others had cars and came back when they filled up. We took a map of town ahead of time and divided up into groups with each group covering a different area so we didn't overlap and annoy people.

Most kids took separate bags for candy and people where happy to fill up both kinds of bags for us!

We made sure everyone knew ahead of time that all donations went to the city (or county depending on what you have) food bank and were available to anyone who needed it - this was not collection for a private group to be helped. We usually ended the one night of collecting with better than 4000 pounds of donations (that was the easiest way to track it and lets us have a figure at the end. The papers did a free 'thank you' ad to the community telling how much was collected and info about the food bank for people that needed help.)

The local pizza shops always donated a bunch of free pizzas for the people collecting to munch on at the base house and the grocery stores donated pop and flashlights/ glow sticks etc. Print shops made free flyers to put up around town. It worked out well for everyone.


"That energy which makes a child hard to manage is the energy which afterwards makes him a manager of life."

- Henry Ward Beecher


Here's an easy way to occupy a toddler. Get several sheets of paper and a pen.  Put a different material under each paper-- something hard under one, soft under the next, and textured under the third.  Let him try poking the paper and writing to see what happens.  Annalee sat and poked holes in a piece of paper on the carpet for a good 10 minutes, exploring different ways to make holes.  Just make sure the pen is out of ink or it's a dark carpet!  :)


Gifts to gobble

Here are some great sites with fabulous mixes you can make with the kids for wonderful homemade holiday gifts-- everything from gourmet cookies to hot cocoa to dips.  I buy things in jars instead of cans to save and recycle for projects like these.  Just glue on a cloth square on top, tie with a ribbon, and affix some instructions.  Make sure to make some for yourselves too!

Oodles of recipes for all different types of mixes:

Recipes with printable labels and such:

Recipes for layered cookie mixes and cakes in a jar.  Make sure to read the tutorial if you try baking cakes in jars and use extremely good sense.  :)  Only adults should handle the baking, sealing and handling.  Also, keep in mind that canning companies don't endorse baking in their products (though lots of bakers of these cakes do).  Check out her site for lots of other wonderful homemade recipes, too.


Picture Time!

With the beautiful scenery abounding this time of year, you've just got to haul out your camera and your kids and get some fabulous photos.  With a few changes of clothes, a few props, and mother nature as a photo assistant, you can get much better pictures than any old studio with its fake backdrops-- and way cheaper!

Here's some helpful hints on how to take some really spectacular pictures.

~ If you can, buddy up with a friend to help arrange and entertain the kids.  It's invaluable to have daddy, grandma or a teenaged friend there to make silly faces, scoot that ball back into the picture, and keep everybody happy long enough to click.  One idea is to trade services with another mom.  You can even do both families at the same time and get some neat friendship pics of the kids.

~ Try piling up a bunch of colorful leaves and letting your kids lie in them.  Take the picture from above for a really darling shot.

~ Don't take pictures facing the sun or your subject will be shaded.  With the sun behind you, the pictures will be bright but the kids will be squinting.  Overcast days are perfect, though you can get a good shot on any day as long as you're aware of your conditions and work around them.

~ Put the kids in solid colors unless the pattern is intended to complement the scenery.  Avoid white or busy prints.  Coordinate their clothes with the scenery.

~ Get some props.  Fun things to occupy them will also add interest to your pictures.  Child rakes, a pile of pine cones, a bouquet of fall flowers, a football, a stuffed animal, a pumpkin.... all of these will help set the mood and also keep your little one occupied for the shot.

~ Have them sit on solid colored blankets, fallen trees, piles of leaves or hay bales.  If you have any child-sized chairs, bring them outside for a cute prop.  You can drape them with fabric if necessary.

~ Have enthusiasm!  This is the most important element for good pictures.  Have contagious fun with it.  Keep a running monologue going saying things like, "Oh, isn't that a pretty flower?  Can you smell the flower?  Oh, good girl!  Do you feel the pumpkin?  Is it soft or hard?  Hard?  Is it named Harold?  No?  What's the pumpkin's name?" to keep them busy and interested.  Kids will not willingly sit still for long unless they're having a really good time.  Keep their hands occupied and their giggles going, and you're going to have a lot longer to get that shot.

~ Be unexpected.  If your toddler is about to bolt, all of the sudden shriek, "Oh no! There's a monkey on my head!".  While your child is looking, laughing, and calling you silly, get some more pictures.

~ Schedule it right.  You know when your child is happiest.  Don't head out for a photo shoot in the afternoon if he's easily annoyed at that time of day.  Plan the shoot during times when your kids are rested, fed and fairly calm.

~ Know when to say when.  Don't expect your little angel to sit on a satin pillow and smile for you for an hour.  You'll both just end up in tears if you have unrealistic expectations.  Take 10 minutes over several days rather than hauling out 18 rolls of film and their entire wardrobes in one sitting.

~ Keep it interesting.  Keep them occupied and happy by asking them questions, telling them stories, singing songs or changing the rules (like having them say a different food for each shot instead of cheese).  Toddlers love to do tricks.  Ask them how old they are, what their names are and what a cow says.  Applaud loudly.

~ Give them some creative control.  Save the last shots for "model's choice" and let them decide what to wear and do.  Tell them they can be as silly or serious as they like.  They may be your best shots!


 "If you were unfortunate enough to be born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing!"

     ~Coco Chanel


                          To My Grown-up Son

                          "My hands were busy through the day
                          I didn't have much time to play
                          The little games you asked me to.
                          I didn't have much time for you.

                          "I'd wash your clothes, I'd sew and cook,
                          But when you'd bring your picture book
                          And ask me, please, to share your fun,
                          I'd say, 'A little later, son.'

                          "I'd tuck you in all safe at night,
                          And hear your prayers, turn out the light,
                          Then tiptoe softly to the door.
                          I wish I'd stayed a minute more.

                          "For life is short, and years rush past,
                          A little boy grows up so fast.
                          No longer is he at your side.
                          His precious secrets to confide.

                          "The picture books are put away,
                          There are no children's games to play,
                          No good night kiss, no prayers to hear.
                          That all belongs to yesteryear.

                          "My hands once busy, now lie still
                          The days are long and hard to fill.
                          I wish I might go back and do
                          The little things you asked me to."

                                 - Author unknown


Now I have a sleepy girl in my lap and ought to start supper.  I hope you have a wonderful, magical week!  Don't forget to take care of you.



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  We do not use ads.  It's not about money.  :)

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