Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 42
June 10, 2002

Hi magical people!  It's hot & I should be doing something else but I wanted to get a newsletter out quick to let you know about the nifty occurrence tomorrow night for those in this part of the world.

I hope you're all doing well.  And now, on with the newsletter.....

Head's up!!!

Tomorrow night (Monday), we're going to have a fabulously weird, crescent sunset.  Make sure to find time to go peek with the family.  What fun!

Here's some more info...


Magical Mama Aileen has a new blessing~ Catherine Elizabeth.
Congratulations Aileen!!!!
I'm so happy for you and your family!


Here's a site that tells how one mom learned to stop spanking and then (even tougher) to stop yelling.  I thought it was pretty helpful and the article on introverts and extroverts led to a real "aha" moment about my kids and my husband, too.


"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."
                               -Mother Theresa


Magical Mama Jen shared this neat idea on the Magical Childhood e-list.

Start a snail habitat!
Here's her instructions....

I have always loved snails, and while out with Sage a month or so ago, we were looking at snails and how they have 2 sets of antennae, etc...and I thought...why not bring them IN?  Soooo....I searched on the internet to see what snails need to be able ot survive indoors.  All you need is a large container with air holes (of course, lol)  In the bottom, place about an inch of gravel...then a couple inches of soil on top of that.  Place some "greenery" from outside in will root and grow very well....also, give them a rock to play on, lol, and lean a stick in there.....a good idea is to place some moss on some of the soil to help retain moisture for them.  They eat fruit and veggie scraps.....ours love carrot and cucumber, but do NOT like cantaloupe or celery.  It's been quite educational for us to have well and can see their mouths open up, they have a row of teeth called a Radula that they rub on food to eat it..very neat to see their open mouths as they stick to the container.  :o)

You should mist their habitat every day or so, keeping their home moist, but not overly so.  Also...the chlorine in water is bad for them, so either leave a container of water open outside for a couple days to let the chlorine evaporate, or boil water for about 10 minutes. (lid off)

You should also clean out their home every week or so...and a tip that I saw on one web site was to put their food on a little piece of wood, or something to that effect, so once it starts to get a little "icky", you can just take the wood out and rinse it off....much easier than digging around in there with your hands to remove the left overs.

Hope that helps some...if you need more info, try typing "snail habitat" in a search engine....

Thanks Jen!
Oh yes, and last I heard congrats went to Jen and Sage for their new arrivals too!  :)


Here's a lesson plan for two kids to go back in time and live in a castle.
It's full of history and fun.

And here's a lesson plan for teachers where kids study different  Cinderella stories,
chart the differences, and eventually create their own.
While it's meant to be a 4 week project for 6 or so students,
it can easily be adapted for homeschoolers or just a fun summer vacation activity.


Wow!  Here's a whole web site just for shy kids and teens.
There's a big book list too.....

I could have used this as a kid since I was often painfully shy.  I was even voted shyest in the school in 7th grade.  But of course I was too shy to show up to get my picture taken for that spot in the yearbook....


"A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances,
but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes."

--Hugh Downs


Magical Mama Lora passed this fun idea on.....

In case you needed justification for lazy housekeeping, try this- don't sweep up all that sand that gets carried and spilled all over the back porch. Check it every morning for animal tracks! We love looking up the tracks in a book, and just knowing things that are going on in the night while we were asleep. Living in the suburbs, this gives me some of that country feeling I miss from growing up in the woods like I did. It gives me a sense of passing along some of my heritage to my kids. The other day we were visiting a friend and my daughter found some muddy tracks and piped up, ""Look! A raccoon came through here! It went over there and got a drink and then went that-a-way!" I was so proud of her! All this
because of sand...

(Now I'm jealous of these folks who have late night visitors on their porches.  I get excited when there's a toad in the garden!)


Passed on by Magical Mama Claire....


1 large grassy field
liberal amount of flowers
1/2 dozen children, any age
2 or 3 dogs
1 small babbling brook
some small pebbles

Mix the children and dogs all together and put them in the field, stirring constantly.  Pour the brook over the pebbles, sprinkle the field with flowers.  Spread over all a deep blue sky, and bake in a hot
sun.  When they are thoroughly browned, remove and set to cool in bathtub.

Bubbles are optional.


What works for me....
thoughts about trying times

One thing that helps me when I'm feeling frustrated with Victoria, who's 4, is to look back at my own earliest memories.  I can remember times of feeling so sad, scared and young, yet most of my memories don't even start until I was older than Victoria is now.  It helps me put it in perspective and put myself in her place.

Since she's the oldest, I often expect much more from her than I think I would otherwise.  I also forget that she's only 4 because she is so advanced intellectually.  I have to remember that just because she may sometimes talk like an 10 year old doesn't mean that she doesn't still have the emotional needs of a 4 year old!

Usually if we go through a rough period that has me wanting to knock myself unconscious, the best thing to do is to compare notes with friends who have kids the same age.  So far, I've almost always found out that my friends are going through the same things (or they do soon after).  Cruising parenting boards to see what's normal for the age also helps.

All of these little behaviors are here for a purpose, even if they do interfere with our sanity at times.  :)  We have to remember that just as they needed to drop things off their high chairs to learn about cause and effect, they have to experiment later with boundaries and frustration, later with rebelling and developing an identity, and so on.  If we're there as an ally during that time, they'll sail through it quickly and learn what they need to learn.  Then we can get back to the fun stuff!


Making your Work
Work for your Family

Continuing the theme from the last newsletter, I've compiled some family friendly jobs, sites and thoughts.....

Here are two legitimate sites full of advice for parents who work from home or want to.
There's lots of good advice on how to find flexible employment, plus information, mailing lists, bulletin boards, and even a job search.

And here's some interesting pages about family friendly employers:

Want to jump out of the fast lane and spend more time on yourself and your family?
Already doing that but struggling to make ends meet?

Here's a list of jobs to think about when looking for family-friendly employment.  Many of them are certainly non-traditional and may involve less income or varying income, and sometimes additional training.  If you have other suggestions, send them in!

~ Teach in your home: instruments, tutoring, computers, skills or crafts
~ Learn a trade like plumbing or carpet installation
~ Provide services like massage therapy
~ Paint or clean houses
~ Mow lawns, plow drives and do maintenance work
~ Provide day care in your home
~ Sell items on e-bay
~ Operate a repair service
~ Catering (many busy families are taking advantage of homemade meal deliveries, for instance)
~ Deliver papers - I know of one couple who used this as a primary source of income and a family of mother, grandmother and baby who support themselves in part by a route they deliver together each day.
~ Transcription at home via computer

Obviously, many of these jobs are not going to bring in salaries that get you that vacation house in Maine.  If you want to make a change that allows you to spend more time at home, the key to making it work is combining it with lifestyle changes that allow your family to live on much less money, so you need to earn much less.  You may also want to continue with your stable career while launching a new one or making life changes.

If you spend less time working outside of the home and commuting, you will have more time
to do your own cooking, cleaning, yard work, laundry, and other jobs you may have to hire out
otherwise.  You can save additional money by shopping thrift stores and yard sales and simply
buying less.

One big way to save a lot of money is to sell off a newer car and its high monthly payments,
buying a reliable older car instead.  We bought our reliable, nice looking, older van for $2,000 cash and never had to deal with monthly payments.  In two years, we've only had very minor repairs.

Another way to make it work is to find less expensive housing.  Moving away from larger cities can make a considerable difference there, and there are even government programs to help people purchase homes in small towns.  You may be able to live on less than half of your old income if you're in the boonies with a new lifestyle.

We bought our house for $2,000 because I found out that the owner was going to let it go for back taxes ($1400).  Since he was going to get nothing for it anyway, he agreed.  It took a lot of work but it's now a beautiful home.  One reason it never sold is because it's in a very small town.  We never could  have afforded a house of this size (or perhaps a house at all) in a larger city.

Other families opt to rent modest apartments so that they're not burdened by large mortgages, and use their money on travel and time together instead.  There are lots of ways to make it work.

I'll include more resources for voluntary simplicity in the next issue.  I hope it's useful to someone out there.  It really helped me create the life I wanted, though it took a lot of work, a lot of patience and a little luck.  :)


10 Ways to Make Today Magical....

1.  Have a bubble relay outside-- contestants have to carry their bubbles from person to person and start over if they pop.

2.  Have the kids play dress up in their most fanciful clothes and then go on an evening walk around the neighborhood.

3.  Lie in the grass with your kiddos and just look at the sky.

4.  Give the kids an old sheet and let them design their own clothes from it.  They can sew, staple or safety pin it together.  Encourage them to go for wacky, glamorous and out of the ordinary!

5.  Go on a crusade to create the wackiest, tackiest hats.  Give each kid an old hat (or make one out of newspaper) and have him embellish it with fabric, markers, fake fruit, ribbons, holiday decorations, you name it.  Take pictures of each contestant in her creation.

6.  Make homemade popsicles, shakes or ice cream treats.  Invite the kids to help design them and get creative!  Drop in berries, alternate colors, you name it!

7.  Encourage the kids to start a project interviewing elders in the family or neighborhood.  They can use a tape recorder or camcorder, or just take notes.  Kids can pick a theme (such as summer fun or memories of a certain person in her youth) or they can just be Barbara Walters and design a bunch of fun questions!  There is such valuable, fascinating history that is slipping through our fingers, and our grandparents and great grandparents usually love to share it.  The project could make a priceless gift for a favorite relative.

8.  Make up a miniature golf course in the backyard or living room.

9.  Pack a picnic and explore a town or park you've never visited.

10. Get a couple of old paintings, prints or even computer print-outs of masterpieces and give the kids some paints and paintbrushes or other art materials.  Let them improve on the originals in whatever way they want and frame the results.  Voila!  Priceless art made even more priceless by your own favorite artist.


It's evening now and I've been puttering on this off and on all afternoon.  I'm hitting spell check and sending it off to you.  I hope you have a wonderful week.

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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