Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 29
December 31, 2001

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!

Hello magical people!  Life has been crazy around here.  My CFS has nailed me so I've resolved to finally honestly try to take it easy and get better.  The girls and I are finding creative ways to have fun while mama sits on the couch <G> and so far so good.  Piles and piles of library books help!  Flylady's system is helping me keep the house up and Daryl has been giving me rubs and teaching me to play the dulcimer.  The pain is pretty annoying but other than that life is pretty good.

Here's some stuff I've gathered, written and tossed together for you this week.  If you're a fan of Martha Stewart, I'll apologize in advance. <G>

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Martha Stewart?  She's a bad thing!

Tonight the girls and I took a bath break and as I stepped over a Martha Stewart holiday magazine I realized that the mere sight of anything with the woman's name on it gives me indigestion.

I bought a stack of October, November and December MS Living magazines for a dime a piece at a library drive this fall, in the hopes of getting some neat decorating ideas for the holidays.  I dearly love going overboard decorating the house, especially during Christmas when I have an excuse to make the place look like the inside of an electrified fairy tale.

However, dear old Martha would disapprove of every one of my decorating delights.

When my chandelier looked miserable, I wrapped it in dried grapevine I hacked up from the back yard.  Martha would have purchased fine Lithuanian wire and hand made a frame draped with some vine that your florist can special order for you from Nepal (but only in June).

Actually, I can't even imagine what Martha would have created, but it probably would be handmade but cost more to assemble than a small plane.

She certainly wouldn't approve of the extra branches from our artificial tree that are jammed above the curtain rod to look like evergreen boughs, even though they look real and the tiny white lights (90 cents at Walmart) look really pretty if I do say so myself.

She'd be disgusted at the thought of fake anything and would order her lights through the Martha Stewart collection for the reasonable price of $39.50 per strand, plus the cost of bulbs.

And that's the more respectable of my decorating accomplishments.  I can't imagine what she'd think of the rest of our house, but I'm pretty sure she'd need major counseling and several anxiety meds for months after visiting.  I might even make her snap completely.  I'd probably send more than a few mothers-in-law into inpatient care too, for that matter.

So just for the heck of it I thought I'd share the top ten decorating "don'ts" that Martha Stewart would condemn me for.

10. Crayons, markers and lipstick are not suitable faux finish treatments for decorating walls.

 9.  Though putting a giant laminated world map by your toilet will help your whole family learn geography whether they like it or not, it does not go with a single approved bathroom theme, especially mine, which is "English country garden psychotic episode."

 8.  Crafts and supper should not make use of the same items, especially at the same time (i.e. let's paint with colored oatmeal for lunch!).

 7.  The bathtub should not be used as an entertainment center.

 6.  Naked toddlers jousting with toilet plungers in the hallway?  Um, no.  Not okay, and cause for immediate expulsion from the Martha Stewart fan club.

 5.  Men who in the habit of sniffing shirts to decide what to wear are not approved marriage material.  They are not even approved gardener material.

 4.  The "focal point" of your living room should not be a giant stuffed dragon, 17 toddler toys, a crate of tiny plastic animals or a three year old in a hula skirt and a fake fur cape.

 3.  Your artwork should never have the author's age printed in the corner.

 2.  Fossil saber tooth tiger skulls should not be used as wall hangings.

and the number one decorating don't that you can learn at my place.....

It doesn't matter how coordinated the carpet is if you can't remember what it looks like.

But if you want to know a secret, I think anybody who has to go to other people's Thanksgiving feasts cuz her own family doesn't like each other enough to get together is not nearly as well off as she'd have us think.  I think it's her loss that she doesn't have toddlers to ruin her centerpieces, grandkids that sleep over and make her living room into a rumpus room or friends who sit on the floor,  eat Cheetos and watch videos with her.  She has no tacky husband to have to decorate and clean around.  She has no children who want to play ball and talk so she can't get to the appetizers.  She seems to have no real relationships and a very superficial life.

There's a certain sadness to anybody who has nothing better to do than make dinners that take 6 days to prepare.

Besides, the woman makes the rest of us feel tacky and lazy, and hey, there's relatives to do that for us.  ;)  Of all the things to feel guilty about, not having a house that could be photographed for her magazine should not be one of them -- especially if you do not have a staff of 70 and several million dollars.

If you are one of the rare people who loves Martha Stewart and gets peace and joy from every issue of her magazine, then for goodness sakes continue on and don't hate me for being so catty.  <G>  Anything that makes you happy is a good thing.

But if you're like the rest of us mortals and the woman makes you feel inadequate and buy dumb things that cost too much money, then today for crafts time I highly recommend setting a toddler loose with all of her magazines and a pair of scissors.

Then serve a lunch composed entirely of green things, declare it funny hat day and mail really bad jokes to ten folks who could use em.

I'll take our kind of Living any day.  :)


Idea from Montessori catalogs...

Get 3-6 tupperware containers of various sizes and shapes, remove the lids and mix them all up.  Have your wee one match up lids to bowls.

Snow Scenes

Have children draw and color winter scenes. Then have them paint over the entire picture with a mixture of 16 ounces Epsom salts dissolved in 4 ounces of very hot water (or have an adult do it). As the picture dries, frosty crystals will appear.
(Original author unknown)

(Postscript:  we tried this and it didn't work very well.  I'd recommend using near boiling water to really dissolve the crystals and use a lot of color on the picture before painting with salt so the crystals show up.  However, the kids like painting with salt slush and you may have better luck so I decided to leave it in!)

Okay, I suck.  Ideas I stole from Martha Stewart.

Ya know what?  I read that indigestion-causing magazine in the bathtub the other day and there were good ideas!  Cackle!  All right, I take half of those mean things back, but the woman still spends way too much money.  ;)

Anyway, here's some nifty ideas I found to do with the kidlings....

10 Ways to Make Today Special..... New Year's Style
Here are some special end of the year ideas to share with your little (or not so little) ones.

1.  For every member of the family, take a few minutes to interview each other about who you are this year.  We tend to see each other through the same eyes even as we change and grow.  Don't assume you still know what your daughter's favorite flavors, colors and friends are.  Put your answers in a family scrapbook and start a tradition of reviewing them at the end of each year.

2.  Make fortune cookies!  Involve the whole family in writing up fortunes, from silly to serious, and then make your own cookies to wrap them in with this recipe.

3.  Make up reverse resolutions.... look back to last year and think of the things you've already accomplished.  It's probably more than you realize! Make up funny ones for babies too (blow spit bubbles, walk backwards).

4.  Get out your new calendars and add silly appointments and reminders to every few weeks throughout the year.  Hug the cat.  100 kisses day.  Foreign phrases day.  Wear polka dots.  No school-- bum around with mom day.  Beach day.

5.  Spend New Years Eve together as a family, making confetti, popping popcorn, putting pictures from this year into albums and doing silliness.  Give the kids noisemakers the last half hour of the old year and let them go all out for the countdown.

7.  Think of a way to start somebody else's new year nicely.  Maybe the kids could sneak to an elderly neighbor's and leave a basket of artwork and cookies with a New Year's card.  Maybe they could gather up all the change in the house and donate it to a worthy charity.  Maybe they can find old blankets and towels to give to the animal shelter (call first).  Let each person choose her own good deed to start the year with.

8.  Sign up for a community ed class with your kids.

9.  Resolve to do nice things for yourselves!  Sit down and write down promises that you make to yourselves this year.  I will get a massage once a month (my mom used to pay me by the minute to rub her back if you need a cheap option).  I will not get mad at myself for losing matches.  You may have to help little ones pamper themselves-- pledge to try to read books with them as much as you can, for instance.

10. Have the kids each write down musings about this past year on the inside of a dresser drawer and date it.  Each year have them do it again, filling the drawers with memories.  When they leave home help them refinish the dresser and take it to their first home.  :)

Have a happy new year everybody!



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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