Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 28
December 21, 2001

Okay, you know how sometimes I send newsletters out where I'm talking about how in love I am with my children, how amazing they are and how just staring at their tiny hands will remind me how incredibly lucky I am to have them?  This will not be one of those newsletters!  ;)  This will be one of those newsletters where I share what helped keep me from shipping them to Trinidad, just in case you were wishing you could send yours UPS somewhere too.

Apologies for being late sending this out.  My neurologist put me on medication for my daily migraines and it had the unfortunate side effect of turning me into a sleepy, deranged she-wolf.  A friend told me that this family of medicines (which ironically are also prescribed for depression, OCD and bed wetting) causes extreme irritability in some people because of the way they tinker with the brain's chemistry.  I'm apparently one of those lucky folks.

One advantage of this week-long neural experiment is that it made me realize how much those little chemical balances matter in how we feel and how we treat people.  I'm lucky that my brain is wired just fine ordinarily in this particular area (no comment on many others), but it hit home about how little control we have over our moods when chemicals are out of balance.  If you're feeling overly depressed, irritable or out of sorts and it's not a normal reaction to what's going on in your life, please talk to your doctor.  I'm not a fan of prescribing pills to fix problems but there are times when it really is out of your control and you deserve to feel better.

I asked my doctor to find a new prescription for me and I'm already feeling better.  Of course, now I'm going to have to do something else about that bed wetting.  <VBG>

And now, enough yapping.  Here's some stuff I've put together for you this week....


Whether you're dreading or anticipating the next snowfall, these neat snow activities will give you tons of ideas for fun with that frigid white stuff.  There's snow art, snow science, and even some snow stuff that you can fake if you live in warmer parts.

Kids getting wired on the Holiday Frenzy?  Here's some ways to slow down and reconnect~

The holidays upset so many routines and add so much mayhem, candy, anticipation, company and chaos that little ones tend to turn into Gremlins this time of year.  It's a magical time but it's also an overwhelming one.

Some ways that work for us to tone down the turmoil are


"The best way to make children good is to make them happy."
- Oscar Wilde

Sentimental Gift idea......

This was sent in by MDM to the Dollar Stretcher newsletter ( and it seemed so touching.

I think this gift is the most treasured one my mother has ever received. Several weeks before Christmas I sent my three brothers 10 blank parchment cards.  I asked them each to write out 10 separate fond or special memories they have about our mom. Combined with my own, I then put the 40 cards in an extra large vase tied with a beautiful bow.

My mom didn't know what to make of the gift at first, but as she started  reading the cards she became filled with emotion. Anytime she needs a  little reminder as to just how special she is, all she has to do is pull a card out and she knows she is loved.

Some Truly Wonderful Traditions....
Family Fun magazine has gathered ten fabulous ways to share the holidays with kids.  I'm definitely incorporating some of these into our holiday traditions!  (Thanks Aileen for sending this!)
(Click on the printer friendly link to read them most clearly and easily)

Gifts from Wee Ones

A sentimental gift idea for loved ones is to use fabric paint to make hand prints on shirts, pot holders, dish towels, aprons, etc.  Stamp your children's hands facing down on the fabric and then write the names and dates, with "Best Grandma, Hands down!" or such underneath it.

Do you know Olivia?  We just discovered this book and Victoria (3 1/2) loves it!  This precocious little pig reminds me so much of little girls I know and love, trouble times and all.  I keep saying we have enough books and we can use the library, but this is one I just have to add.  :)

Feeling overwhelmed with messes?  I've told you I'm on the Flylady list and I do think she has some good ideas when it comes to cutting yourself slack and conquering clutter.  One resolution I made is not to focus on getting the whole house clean but to try to keep one special corner comfy and pretty for me.  Instead of being something I have to do, it's something I treat myself with-- having one spot that will always be neat that will lift my spirits when I swear I'll never get the house clean.  I can cuddle with the girls there and read a book or take a quick break to do a crossword puzzle, and it's a mini retreat from the chaos of the rest of the house.  Why not do the same, even if you have to turn a recliner to the wall and decorate the corner?  What's to lose!  Find a nook to make your own private sanctuary.  While you're at it you could help the kids find their own little special space too.

Christmas tree shape craft

Here's a fun way to combine the holidays with arts and crafts, fine motor skills and learning for kids from ages 1-6 or so if you tailor it to them.

Use some green wrapping paper to cut out a large Christmas tree shape and tape it to the side of the fridge or a wall at child level.  Now draw some shapes (circle, square, star, triangle...) on cardboard and cut them out to use as templates.

Show your child how to trace the shapes onto construction paper or coordinating wrapping paper and help her cut them out.  Use a variety of colors and plan it so that you have a number of matching sets of colors and shapes.

You can use the shapes as ornaments for your tree, but first you can use them to reinforce colors, shapes, counting and matching.  You can ask itty bitty kids to find the other triangle to match the one in your hand, ask older kids to find 3 green stars, and so on.  Kids get to practice cutting and tracing, which are important at preschool age.

Then help the kids put the ornaments on the tree.  Make sure you are only the flunky and he gets to do the actual decorating and taping.  We did a tree today and the hardest part was keeping my mouth shut when Victoria taped over the paper so that nothing would stick.  When the pieces fell off she learned on her own how to get them to stick though, which is way more valuable than being told.

You can also make a more permanent tree and have fun with shapes (palm tree?  apple tree?) and make a monthly craft of decorating it with the kiddos.  December can be ornaments, then little snowflakes you cut in different colored circles for January, hearts for February, shamrocks for March, flowers for April.....  If there's a nice white wall at kid height, it will make a great spot for this evolving project, which could also be fun on the inside of a door, closet or cupboard.

Quick last minute gift ideas....

Coupon books, homemade mixes in jars, an original poem printed on nice paper and framed, a fabric covered box filled with photos of the person and memories written on each back, a video tribute of performances, sap and silliness from loved ones (especially for those who you don't see often), a donation in their name to a cause they care about.

Secret Sap

Next time you're up alone late at night, take advantage of that time and leave silly notes in hiding places all over the house.  It may take months for somebody to stumble on all of them, but what a way to break up an ordinary day to suddenly stumble on a note that says "Mama loves you" or "Kisses!  You must come give your grandma 18 kisses immediately upon finding this!" or anything that you think will bring a smile.

10 Ways to Make Today Magical......
~After supper and while everybody else reads books or plays, bundle up one child and sneak out for a walk through the holiday lights.  Take one child a night and enjoy the quiet magical night together.
~Decorate something silly for the holidays. Hang ornaments on the chandelier, stick bows all over the refrigerator, or hang garland in the car.
~Spray "snow" on the corners of all of the mirrors.
~Give the kids a box of extra decorations to play dress up and make believe with.  Let them make boas from garland, hang ornaments from their buttonholes, use doilies as hats, you name it.  Waste a roll of film recording it all.
~Every time the clock chimes (or a timer set for an hour dings), everybody grab a drum, flute, mini guitar or other noisy thing and make music for a minute.  Daryl got me a clock that plays Christmas carols every hour and as soon as it starts to sing we all dash for the pile of instruments and make noise like lunatics!
~Enlist older kids in leaving telltale signs of Santa around the house-- sneak bites from cookies, leave big bootprints by the door, jingle bells and then hide them quickly, etc.
~Go to the beauty parlor with your daughter and get both of you a manicure or hair styling.
~Use a bottle for a candle holder and start a tradition of burning candles at dinner to let the wax drip in designs down the bottle.  These evolving works of art can be a lot of fun to plan (what color next? will it burn better if you blow gently?) and almost hypnotic to watch at times.
~Ever so often, giggle very softly under your breath and exclaim that you just heard a fairy, brownie, magic elf or other make believe visitor.  Victoria has as much fun trying to catch me making the noises as she does looking quickly under the table for those tricky little things.
~Talk to your kids about how today's exact date will never ever happen again and ask them for ideas on what to do to remember it for their whole lives.  I still remember a simple walk with my grandmother when I was 10 because she told me to keep the memory.  It doesn't take a huge event to make each day count.

Here's wishing you the merriest of Christmases for those of you who celebrate.
Don't get too caught up in the mayhem, presents, gottas and should haves.  Hug your babies, be thankful for your sweetie and forgive your relatives for being so maddening sometimes.  ;)  I hope you have the best holiday yet!



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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