Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 58
September 18, 2003

Hello magical people!  I hope you're enjoying the change of seasons.  Daryl read once that September is the month of winds and magic, and I always loved that thought.  Here's to a windy, magical month.

And now, on with the newsletter.......


Fighting Siblings

Sounds like a high school football team, doesn't it?  :)

Lately, my girls have been at each other quite a bit and I've heard from many moms who are going through the same thing.  I did some reading, some talking, some listening and some experimenting to try to make things better.

Here are some ideas that are working for us.

The biggest thing I'm working on is teaching the kids what to do instead, though.  They're not fighting and misbehaving just to get my goat.  I finally realized they're just trying to take care of their own needs.  I have to work with them on how to do that in better ways.

Think about it:  Say Victoria is playing with a toy and her little sister snatches it.  Should she try to pull it back and fight Anna for it?  Hit her?  Tell me so I can referee every 5 minutes?  Accept it and lose her toy?  It's hard for me as a parent to think of what would be the best way to handle it, much less for a 5 year old to figure out.

So right now we're working on talking all this out about the most common problems and deciding together would would be good solutions.  It seems like an obvious thing, but I often forget that I can't just tell my kids what not to do.  I also have to teach them what to do instead.

And then there are days when I just turn up the radio.  ;)

Here are some sites that deal with the issue further:

Magical mama Misty also recommended the book:
Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
Thanks Misty!


We just got the Philadelphia Chickens book and soundtrack by Sandra Boynton and it is fantastic!  You must go listen to a copy.  It is simply too darling to miss!  Stars like Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep and the Bacon Brothers sing catchy, silly, marvelous songs that only Boynton could dream up.  If you must listen to something over and over again in the car, pick something as fantastic as this.

If you don't have little ones who'll make you listen, get it for yourself and make your teenagers listen. They need more silliness. Make everybody else listen too.  Grown ups need especially to hear the Busy, Busy, Busy song.  Grown ups generally need more silliness, too.

And nope, I'm not a distant relative and don't get so much as a free t-shirt for saying this.  It's just too much fantastic fun.


Magical mama Lora shared this neat idea......

The other day I stumbled across something that I have to pass along to you. My daughter had had a bad day, gotten in trouble a lot, and was feeling less loved than usual. As I was getting her bath ready, I put blue food coloring in it to help her perk up. Then I got a flash of inspiration. I got out the hand mirror (careful, here, there's glass involved) and put it in the water. When my six yr old came to get in the tub, she asked what was going on. I said a mermaid had come to visit.

She got into the ocean, as I called it, and looked in the mirror like I told her. And there was the mermaid. And she was blue! Then I told my mermaid all about the mermaid in the mirror, how wonderful she was, and loved, and kind, and forgiving, and how she held a special place in all our hearts. My girl never took her eyes off the face in the mirror, and she soaked up every word.

Later on, it worked for my three yr old, too, although I kept a closer eye on her with the mirror.  I thought, I have to share this so some other kid can have the same experience.

Thanks Lora!


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Here's a great site for kids that gives details on all different jobs, from rock star to clergy member to cashier to zoo keeper, with actual details on what they're really like.  They're grouped by what children like to do (jobs for people who like to read, who like to be outdoors, etc.).  Each page lists the salary ranges, ups and downs of the job, training required, number of people in the vocation and more.  It also lists related jobs, in case the kids decide it might not be so easy to be a rock musician after all.


Magical mama Josie passed this on...

The Department of Labor is offering a free (yes, that's right) DVD documentary on the men and women who worked so very hard to pull New York literally out of the rubble of 9/11. Ground Zero was an extraordinarily dangerous work site, and many of those who saw the area in the first days after the attack were sure it would take at least a year to dig out and clean up. The job was done in nine months.

Thanks Josie.  What a wonderful tribute.


Here's a fun way to divvy up chores.  Write jobs on small pieces of paper and slip them into balloons.  Blow up the balloons and let the kids each pick one to pop.  They do whichever job is inside.  When their job is finished, they get to pop another balloon and do the next one.  Be careful with balloons around little kids, of course.


Studying the brain?  Here are two very creative pages.

How to make a brain for an art project:

Neuroscience coloring pages:


This is a simple little song I made up and sang to Jack before he was born.  I love to sing it to him now that he's finally in my arms and I thought I'd share it.

Have I Told You Yet

Have I told you yet that I love you?
My sweet little dream within
Have I told you yet
How much you'll love
This life that's about to begin?

Have I told you yet about sunsets?
About snowballs and turtles and rain
Have I told you yet
how I'll hold you close
And kiss you and kiss you again?

Have I told you yet that I love you?
You're the wish I've been waiting for
I can't wait till we
Can finally meet
I'll love you forever and more.

I'll love you
and more.


Quick fun~

Next time you get some of those large styrofoam packing inserts, give them to the kids along with some golf tees and a play hammer.  Let the kids hammer the tees into the styrofoam to their hearts' content.  It's also fun to fill a small container with clay and hammer tees into that.


10 Ways to Make Today Magical.....

1.  Eat supper with all sorts of weird props-- eat off lids and frisbees, use ladles and tongs to eat with, serve soup from a tea pot, drink from clean ketchup containers...  Get creative!

2. Open up your newspaper's community events section and close your eyes to pick something to attend together.

3.  Write your child a long letter telling her how special she is to you and then hide it somewhere in her room.  Wait until she happens across it sometime in the future.

4.  Go hiking together.

5.  Leave squirrel treats.  Gather up some fallen nuts or splurge on some bulk peanuts and leave little platters of them for the squirrels.  Hide someplace and watch them come to spirit them away.  Wanna make it really fun?  Make them work for it.  Squirrels are brilliant at getting to even the trickiest of treats.  Some families have even rigged up obstacle courses for their furry visitors.

6.  Harvest acorns and roast them.  **Instructions below

7.  Start a family poem.  Put up a large piece of paper on a door and put a pen nearby.  Ask every family member to add a word every time he or she passes.  It can be silly or serious.  Save the finished poems in an album or scrapbook.

8.  Make mud pies together.

9.  Do a fall photo shoot in a park or back yard.  Bring props (football, teddy bear, pumpkin...) and costume changes.  Ask someone to take a picture of you with the kids, too.

10. Start having theme suppers-- everything starts with o, all foods in fall colors, New England night, new food night, etc.


** Harvesting acorns

This is our second year harvesting acorns and it's already a fun tradition.  Daryl found many conflicting instructions online so he experimented until he came up with the way that works best for us.

Acorns were a large part of many Native American tribes' diets and have been enjoyed by many families for generations.  The nuts can be ground into acorn flour or enjoyed whole.  We use our acorn flour to make acorn muffins, which are suprisingly tasty.  The flavor and aroma are distinct and almost buttery.  It's also a lot of work for not much product, but the fun is in the process, especially for children.

Here's what you do.

1.  Go with the kids to an area with lots of oak trees and gather up lots and lots of acorns.  If you can get to freshly fallen ones you'll have less weevils to deal with.

2.  Take your stash home and play "sink or swim."  When weevils have bored a hole in the acorn
and laid eggs, it makes them lighter and they'll float in a bucket of water.  Let the kids toss those acorns back outside for the squirrels.  Keep the sinkers.  You will probably have a lot of floaters, which is why you gather lots and lots.

3.  Use a nutcracker or rock to break the shell and remove the round nut.  Have a grown up use a paring knife to cut away any parts with tiny holes or black spots.  You don't need to remove the light brown covering.

4.  Put the nuts in a pan of water and bring it to a boil.  Drain, add more water, and repeat until the water is clear.  You're leeching out the bitter tannins, which is necessary to make them tasty.  Some acorns (from the white oak families) have fewer tannins, and may only take 3
boilings; red oak acorns have LOTS of tannins, and will take a lot more.  You can use a tree ID book or look up online how to tell the leaves of oaks apart.

5.  Spread the nuts on a cookie sheet and bake at 200 degrees for about 2 hours.  This will fill the house with a smell that you and your kiddos will forever associate with fall!

6.  You can now grind the acorns into flour or enjoy them as is. There are lots of acorn recipes online or you can add a handful to your favorite cookie, muffin or brownie recipe.  Acorns are popular in stuffing, too. Have fun!


And now, there's a little guy here who really thinks I should be dancing around with him.  Have a wonderful month!



A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2003, 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.  :)

Feel free to pass this on.  Don't steal it, that would be rude.