This has been such a sad time here in the U.S. with recent child abductions. It's hard to stay happy sometimes in the face of such awful things done to children. I was so relieved to hear of the little girl who managed to escape and the two teenagers who were rescued, though. I'm also glad that Florida is looking into its flawed foster care system and hope that other suits will take a closer look at their own. The families of all of the children who are missing or have been killed are in my prayers, as are the children worldwide who are living in poverty, war, abandonment and abuse. Our world has a lot of work to do on their behalf.
One of the things that helps me deal with the sadness of these stories is finding ways to help balance things out by doing good in whatever ways I can. I donate to several children's charities (American and international) and have the donations taken directly from my checking account every month so I barely notice. It helps to know that I'm helping fund the good guys in their work to keep kids safe. Other ways to help include volunteering, becoming a foster parent, supporting other children and parents, donating used children's items to shelters, and giving all the kids in your life as much love as humanly possible.
If you have suggestions on how to make life better for children -- not just our own but the kids in our communities and the world -- please send them in. I'd love to hear what you do to make a difference.
now, on with the newsletter........
there is no such thing as a small act of kindness.
Every act creates a ripple with no logical end."
-- Scott Adams
Stock up time!
Whether you have kids in school or not, now's the time to take advantage of back to school sales. One of our local stores has 3 ring notebooks for 14 cents each, while another has Crayola markers (big and little, plus washable) for 88 cents and Crayola 24 packs of crayons for 40 cents. I just bought a dozen bottles of white glue for 18 cents each, which will take care of our crafts for the year (when they're empty, fill them with a thick soup of flour, water and food coloring and let the kids pipe colored messes onto newspaper-- they love it). Check the stores after school starts for great clearance deals, too.
And now that you have all those new markers, check out the new crafts in the craft section of the Magical Childhood site-- tie dye art and Bingo games.
Be honest! Do you see yourself or your partner in these parenting styles? Read this exerpt and decide where you fit.....
Punitive - Punitive parenting approaches children in a way that assumes a battle of wills. Punitive parents assume children have to feel bad in order to learn - though they may not use those words to describe it. Punitive tools include: time outs, arbitrary loss of privileges, spanking, lectures, physical discipline such as hot sauce on the tongue.
Permissive - Permissive parents are come in two types. One comes to permissiveness through neglect. Often this parent has addiction or depression issues. The parent isn't able to parent at all and the child is allowed to do nearly anything. Another kind of permissive parent is more attuned and better intentioned. This is the type who feels age appropriate behavior is to be allowed and outgrown without intervention.
Effective Positive Discipline - This type of family realizes that discipline isn't a list of tools used, it's a relationship and a way of thinking about the nature of children. Tools vary, often according to the personality of the child. It's characterized by finding kind and firm ways to teach boundaries. In this way, EPD understands age appropriate behaviors and doesn't punish for them. However, a EPD family will actively work with their child to teach and enforce reasonable boundaries of behavior.
This is from a great article on positive discipline. Read the whole thing here: http://joanneaz_2.tripod.com/positivedisciplineresourcecenter/id14.html and check out other articles on the site for more ideas on how to parent lovingly with boundaries.
seem to be those
who have no particular reason
for being happy
except that they are so."
~W. R. Inge
It's that time again... The Perseid Meteor Showers are coming!
The annual nightly show is set to peak during the nights of August 12 and 13, with as many as hundreds of meteors an hour. What a great way to hang out with the kids. Pack up some fun midnight treats, take some blankets, and hang out under the stars. In between meteors you can get a chance to connect again, too.
Here's more information: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2002/19jul_perseids.htm
Magical Mama Katie shared this fun project..... Memory Boxes!
She wrote: "We have been making memory boxes we got some shoe boxes for free from the shoe shop , we painted them and then glued all kinds of things to them my 7 year old daughter who is a fluffy pink girl , stuck bits of fluff and sequins and ribbons on and my son who is 2 and mad on cars stuck all kind of cars and trucks on. Now they are going to fill them with bits and bobs collected from free days out during the school holidays. They had so much fun making them I couldn't wait to tell you!"
In the recurring theme of simplifying life, here are some more great web sites...
a promise this one makes!
"If you are willing to act upon what you find and learn here, we promise that you can simplify and unclutter your life and develop a healthy relationship with money -- no debt, complete understanding and control of your financial situation, plus the time and resources for the things that are important to you. This might seem hard to believe, but you may even discover you can quit your job and never work another day of your life!"
this web site on all of my lists since I enjoyed it so much. It's
a companion to the series "Affluenza" that PBS broadcast several years
ago. There are so many wonderful pages to explore here! Highly
Two books that magical mama Kimberly recommends:
1) Noah's Children by Sarah Stein. Basic idea is to get the kids outside digging in the dirt, climbing rocks, chasing critters, and splashing in water (however, the typical American lawn does not provide for this kind of outdoor exploration. She has written other books on how to restore the ecology of our yards). These activities, in her mind, are better than any toy you could give a child.
2) Your Money or Your Life The book is essentially a road map to financial independence. There is so much to be gotten out of this book even if you do not intend to carry it all the way to financial independence. One of the best things the book has to offer, I think, is examining how much money a second job may be costing your family. In the end, many families often find out that after all the expenses of a second job are taken out of that paycheck, that the paycheck left over isn't much and not worth the hassle.
And two that magical mama Sharon (and Kimberly) recommends:
"I read the book Clutter’s Last Stand recently, and it inspired me to get rid of even more stuff. As each bag of clutter disappears, I feel lighter and happier. Just yesterday I checked out a fantastic book from the library. It’s called Material World, and it shows pictures of an “average” family from many different countries. In the pictures, each family is surrounded by all their wordly possessions. It really makes you think when you compare the pics of people from the U.S. with the pics of the people from India or Ethiopia."
Super easy art ideas to do right now....
Y'all know by now that I love arts and crafts that involve little effort on our parts and maximum effort, creativity and discovery on the kids' parts. These are some crafts we've done lately that fit the bill.
~ Sun prints: We all know about these but how often do we do them? Kids love to position dark or bright construction paper in the sun and then pick fun shapes to leave on it. In a few hours, go see the art the sun made.
~ Dot art: To occupy the girls for a few minutes while I cooked supper the other day, I dotted a plain piece of paper with random dots. I told them to connect the dots any way they wanted and make a picture out of it. They had a lot of fun and the results were great.
~ Creature drawings: Easy. Give toddlers to pre-teens some blank paper and pens, colored pencils or whatever and ask them to draw you creatures. Annalee (2) loves to make creepy crawlies and there's no wrong way to draw them. They can even name them if they like and afterwards you can ask them to tell you about the creatures (what do they eat? what do they like to do?) and you can write it out on the bottom and date it for a sweet reminder of this age.
~ Flattened cardboard box art: Again, completely simple and great fun for the kids. Just flatten a mailing box or any cardboard box and give kids crayons and ball point pens. Kids love to poke holes in them with the pens and then color all over. I have several boxes in my den that my girls decorate when I want to sneak onto the computer. It's free and you just recycle when finished!
~ Improvise! From using leftover spaghetti strands to decorate a piece of construction paper and harden overnight to making a model out of styrofoam packing peanuts and toothpicks, there's fun stuff around the house to cheaply engage their creativity.
Magical Mama Nancy shared this great idea for when teenagers are dating. One of her foster families had 5 boys of their own and 6 foster daughters and all of them were teenagers. Her foster father would collect $5 from each teen and his or her date at the beginning of the date and put it on the fridge. If they came home before curfew, they got their money back. If they were late, they didn't. What a great idea!
every American donated five hours a week,
it would equal the labor of 20 million full-time volunteers."
West Nile Virus: What you should know
In light of the recent scare about mosquitoes and the West Nile Virus, I thought I'd do a little research on its dangers and how to keep kids safe. Here's what I found out.
10 Ways to Make Today Magical...
1. Let the kids arrange some 2x4 boards on the lawn in a funky pattern or their initials. Wait a week and let the sun "brand" your lawn. The covered area will be brown in the shape the kids made. Don't worry, it's temporary. The grass will green up again soon after.
2. Make a celebration cake "just because." Add candles and too much brightly colored icing. If you want, go all out and eat it with your hands.
3. Give your kids facials. Include a slow, circular face massage with cleansing lotion followed by a warm washcloth soak. Follow that with a masque (there are great recipes online) while you sit and talk. Finish with a light moisturizer in a delicious scent.
4. Make up a family dance line routine.
5. Have a sidewalk parade with neighborhood kids.
6. Visit thrift shops for an old piece of furniture and repaint it together. Make it as whimsical, funky or dramatic as they like.
7. Dedicate a song to your child on the radio.
8. Have a watermelon seed spitting contest outside.
9. Take apart a cheap wall clock and let the kids decorate the face before putting it back up. For little ones, do painted hand prints.
10. Invent a recipe together. Make up a standard cookie, cake or pancake recipe and then brainstorm on things to add. Write it all down in a family cookbook as you go (with measurements) & afterwards write suggestions on improvements for next time. One of the most fun parts is you get to come up with your own name for your recipe-- that and getting to eat it all up. :)
And with that, chickadees,
I'm off to do the glorious job of hanging laundry. Kiss your babies
(even the grown ones) and take good care of yourselves. Despite the
chaos, the mess, the noise & the sad times, it really is a magical
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We do not use ads. It's not about money. :)
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