Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 38
April 27, 2002

Hi folks!  I hope you had a good week.  We did, other than the snowstorm.  Harumph.  :)

The Magical Childhood site was down for a day or two last week & I hope it didn't inconvenience anybody.  It turns out that we just passed the one year anniversary of the site and newsletter, which accidentally meant that the renewal notice went to our old e-mail address and they yanked us.  Whoops!

It's all back now though, and sometime soon will have a new spring look and some new crafts and articles.  I'll let you know when to peek.

This issue, I've put together some new book recommendations, ramblings, craft ideas from other moms, teaching & homeschool sites, ideas and ways to make the day magical.

And now, on to the fun stuff.........


Some fun new books~

Here are a few baby, preschool and grade school titles we've purchased or checked out from the library lately that got rave reviews from both the girls and me.

The Carrot Seed
This short, simple classic teaches about patience and trust so well for even the littlest children.  A little boy plants a carrot seed and carefully tends it, even though everybody tells him it won't come up.  Great for this time of year too!

Hop On Pop By Dr. Seuss
Okay, we didn't just buy it but we keep on reading it year after year.  This book is just plain fun and it does the best job in the world of teaching phonics and letters.

Kiss the Cow by Phyllis Root
This wonderful picture book was an instant favorite at our house, for both Victoria and Annalee.  It tells of Annalisa, a little girl in a huge family of children, whose curiosity and stubbornness cause a heap of trouble when she runs off to milk the magic family cow but won't kiss her to thank her afterwards.  :)   It's a darling book.

All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan
This sweet book tells the story of a boy born on a farm and all of the places his family members teach him to love.  Eventually his baby sister is born and he shows her his favorite.  It's beautifully illustrated and sentimental as all get out, with a grandfather who cries when the boy is born and carves his name in the barn, a mother who lifts him onto her shoulders as they walk through the grasses and a father who sits with him and teaches him to love the soil.  The text is short enough to be a good bedtime book and keep a small child's attention, but long enough to tell a wonderful story.   Note: I saw this was offered through one of the Scholastic classroom book clubs this month for $2 or $3.

Counting Kisses by Karen Katz
A "kiss and read" book!  This one is perfect for babies or toddlers learning numbers.  A sad baby gets a series of kisses from mama-- 10 little kisses on teeny tiny toes all the way to one last kiss on your sleepy, dreamy head.  Big, sweet illustrations complete it perfectly.

M&M's Math and More M&M's Math
Okay, they require chocolate, but these books are fantastic for teaching all sorts of math concepts (and colors and even basic counting).  You could probably teach two years' worth of math principles with these books alone.  They tastily cover adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, graphing, remainders and lots more.  I got them as a set through Scholastic and it will be a few years before Victoria is ready for some of the "More" book, but she and I had a ball playing (and learning) with them anyway.  Highly recommended!

My Mama had a Dancing Heart
This book won me over with the title alone, but we love it.  It goes through the seasons with a little girl and her mother dancing outside and then doing a seasonal craft.   The mama is exactly the kind of mama I strive to be.  They dance in the rain, in the waves, in the snow and in the leaves, and then do crafts like cutting snowflakes and pressing fall leaves.  The end shows the daughter as a ballerina dancing on-stage, imagining that she's dancing with her mother.  It's a tearjerker, but in a wonderful way.


Habitat for Humanity has a whole list of ways that children and teenagers can get involved and help out in the program on their site...


"Discipline isn't just about winning or losing.
Every power struggle offers you the opportunity
to connect with your child or disconnect.
The relationship you will have with your child
when he's an adolescent
lies in the words and actions you use today.
Ultimately your real power is in that emotional bond."

--Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
Kids, Parents and Power Struggles


Magical mama Lisa wrote in about her mother's experience leaving yarn
for birds' nests and warned to cut it very short or baby birds may be harmed.
Thanks Lisa!


If you're feeling blue, you might like this trick I do to not only focus me on the good stuff but help me be a better mama too.

I love lists, and I make up lists of 50 things I love about each child.  It takes a few minutes but it inevitably gets me smiling and feeling sappy, and when I'm finished I have a wonderful memento for my girls.

I do it on the computer and keep them in their files, printing out a copy to read to the girls.  I also file e-mails that I send about what they're doing and what sort of day we've had, so that someday they have a little journal of not just what they were up to for every age, but what our lives were like at that time.


Magical Mama Laura sent in these neat ideas:

1.  At the risk of sounding ridiculous, 1 and 2 cent postage stamps make good stickers.  With the price of postage going up soon, everyone should should have more odd stamps lying around.  I am allergic to some Band-Aid adhesives.  Mailing labels irritate my son's skin so we're careful to only put those on paper.

2. Colored coffee filters with pipe cleaners centers and stems make nice flowers.
(A fun way to color them is to dip corners in different colors of colored water or draw on them with markers and then mist them to watch the colors run)

3.  Ivory soap carves easily with a spoon into a boat.  Add a scrap piece of paper for a sail (triangle or rectangle) and a coffee stirrer mast and you have a sailboat.  An old shower curtain can be sprayed with water  to make the ocean.  Just remind the kids not to wipe their eyes after holding the boats.


A few neat homeschooling and teaching sites.....

This site links to all different homeschooling styles with great resources on each.

My favorite (free) homeschooling catalog:

Aptly named!  There are such neat ideas here
at I love that teaching idea:

Obviously, I have no affiliation with any of these sites
but they are ones I wear out in my bookmarks.  :)

They're not just for teachers and homeschoolers either.
You'll find great resources to help your kids with homework,
find inexpensive craft supplies and just generally fun stuff, too!


Kids and drinking......

Have you seen the new Coors beer ads?  It shows a bunch of college aged guys and a scene like something from "Animal House."  Sure they're not targeting minors-- just very young adults who want to binge drink and act like idiots.  Uh huh.

Phooey on them.  I'm not a big beer customer but I sure won't buy Coors.  But then again, I don't think mooning people is funny.  I wonder which age group that would appeal to......

Talk to your kids about alcohol.  If you made mistakes, share that with them.  I think when we hide our own pasts and idiot mistakes from our kids we miss what could be the only bright side to the whole thing.

While sexual assault is never the fault of the victim, drinking can leave young girls and women very vulnerable to attack.  Drinking and driving kills thousands of teens (and others) a year.  Drinking doesn't make us look cool.  Throwing up on yourself is not cool.

We have to have dialogs about all of this with our kids because even though this is now all common sense to us it isn't to them.  There are an awful lot of beer companies and friends who'll be working hard to sell it.  Just saying "just say no" is not going to cut it.

I have an old high school friend who was terrified that I'd someday tell her daughter all of the things she'd done in high school.  Of course I wouldn't share someone else's private business with her children, but I think she missed the boat.

My kids will hear about a lot of my mistakes.  I'll tell them about waking up with a feeling of dread in my stomach because I remembered some humiliating thing I'd done.  I'll tell them about truly awful things that happened to me because I was in places and situations where I couldn't get safe.

And hopefully, those talks will help when I'm not there to tell them what to do.  Knowledge is power-- sometimes even knowledge about your mom acting like an idiot when she was your age.  :)



10 Ways to Make Today Magical.....

1.  Put on grungy clothes and go for a grubby walk.  Plan to stomp in every mud puddle and utilize every opportunity to get messy!

2.  Go for a drive together.  Take off and just cruise down some fantasy drive to look at the rich houses or find a scenic route in the country.  Slow down and just talk.

3.  Go through the house with a grocery bag and fill it with junk you can get rid of-- clothes, makeup, utensils, broken crayons, whatever.  Then dump it out in a messy spot and help the kids take it apart, use it for crafts, cut it up, make creations or whatever else they can dream up.

4.  Invent a card or board game together.

5. Make up a personalized word search, crossword puzzle or other word games.  You can include their pets, their friends' names, interests, funny memories, whatever you like.  Crossword puzzles are tough but fun to make up using graph paper, especially if you're stuck waiting for things and just keep it with you.

6.  Check out an old favorite movie from the library (free!) and pop some popcorn. If you like, add a family twist to it-- like each family member has a phrase, image or word to watch for.  When yours come up you pick from a stack of cards made up with silly tasks (do 5 jumping jacks, cluck like a chicken, give your mom a kiss...).

7.  Make a game of supper.  Make some small finger foods like mini muffins, some baby carrots, peas colored pasta, etc. Then make cards up for those too and take turns-- Eat something green, pass a carrot to the person on your left, eat as many peas as your age... If you're out of that food, you have to "draw".... improvise and laugh your way through supper!

8.  Make up May baskets to leave on doorsteps on Mayday.  Include homemade crafts, pictures, treats or flowers with a happy note.  On Mayday (May 1, Wednesday), help the kids get up early and leave their treasures for favorite neighbors.

9.  Gather up old buttons, silk flowers, big earrings, ribbons and other notions.  Help your kids sew them onto sneakers, hats, backpacks or old jackets to personalize them.  You can get permanent fabric glue to make it even easier.

10. Start researching your family tree with them.  They'll love finding out neat things about their ancestors and so will you!  Start by just interviewing relatives, especially older ones.  Not only will you all learn something about your heritage, but your loved ones will love to share their stories with a new generation.


And with that, I'm off to make something tasty and cuddle on the couch with a crossword puzzle and a couple of little girls.  Have a wonderful week and don't forget to take care of you!




A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2002, 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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