Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 59
October 28, 2003

Happy October!

I'm terribly sorry to be so slow in getting this out to you.  Between the baby and the girls, a bad cold, lots of gallivanting and lots of time spent cursing my messy house & making it messier, I am behind on everything but my heartbeat.

We all are all happy and moderately healthy here.  Peek at the front page of the web site to see the fun we had with a pumpkin in the park.  If you have a moderately small kiddo, I highly recommend plopping him or her in a pumpkin for darling pictures.  Coming soon-- an article on the site with lots of fun photo ideas.

I've got a bit of this and a bit of that for you all so I'll stop yapping and get on with it then.  :)


Bittersweet October.
The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause
between the opposing miseries of summer and winter.

~Carol Bishop Hipps

Pumpkin pounding

Here's a fun & simple activity for kids.  Hammer nails into a pumpkin!  You can stick them in for the kids and then let them hammer with a toy hammer or an ice cream scoop.  It's surprisingly fun!

Try tracing a pattern and hammering holes along the lines.  You could even hollow it out and put a candle in to light up your designs.


Here's a great Halloween carol to sing to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas"  (author unknown)

On the First Day of Halloween, my Swamp Thing gave to me:

A hoot owl in a dead tree.
Two trick or treaters,
Three black cats,
Four skeletons,
Five Snicker bars,
Six goblins gobbling,
Seven pumpkins glowing,
Eight monsters shrieking,
Nine ghosts a-booing,
Ten ghouls a-groaning,
Eleven masks a-leering,
Twelve bats a-flying.


Do you want to share your childbirth story?
These folks are working on a project that might be fun to contribute to.

"My sister Carolyn Norden, a children's book and merchandise illustrator, and I are collaborating on a book about funny, off-the-wall or unique labor/childbirth stories. We would love to reach out to the Magical Childhood online community to ask moms and dads to share with us their most offbeat or unusual childbirth anecdotes."

Eileen Loh Harrist
New Orleans, LA
(504) 756-0183

(Note: I'm passing the info on but I'm not affiliated in any way with these folks and do not know any more details about their project.  Contact them if you're interested.)


Face Paint:

1 1/2 tbsp. solid shortening
food coloring
3 tbsp. cornstarch

Mix shortening and corn starch until smooth, adding a few drops of water if necessary.  Divide into small jars and tint with food coloring.  You can apply with fingers, makeup sponges, Q-tips or paintbrushes.  You can also use small stencils and a sponge to make cute designs.

Remove with soap and water (my kids are sometimes tinted for a bit after it's removed, but we like it).  Food coloring sometimes stains, so use caution around clothes.


1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons hot water
Red food coloring (if needed)
A little baby powder

Mix gelatin and hot water in a small bowl and stir till the gelatin thickens. Add the food color to a small amount of the scar goop, if you want the scar to be 'fresh'. Use a wooden craft stick or your fingertip to apply the "scar" to your skin. Dust with a small amount of baby powder until it resembles skin.


Halloween & Harvest activities.....

Here's a dragon coloring page with a recipe for making dragon eggs.
How neat!


Sensory Integration Corner......

I found a wonderful book that I recommend for every parent, whether you think your child has sensitivity issues or not.  Chances are, either you or someone in your family will relate to the issues in this book, and there are wonderful tips on how to calm down when you or your kids are feeling overwhelmed, over stimulated or otherwise bombarded by noise, chaos, clutter, sights, smells, etc.  This is a must read for parents, teachers, day care providers, you name it!

Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight: What to Do If You Are Sensory Defensive in an Overstimulating World

Here's a list of places that carry it.  Your local library should have it as well.

Also, Ikea is carrying a line of children's furniture that deals with SI needs like indoor swings, hammocks, chairs and more.  All kids flourish with this kind of sensory input, and most kids don't get enough during the winter when they're cooped up inside.  These are much cheaper than you can find them elsewhere.  If you live near an Ikea, it might be worth a trip.


It's that time of year again.  We make a batch of this every year and it lasts for months.  The scent is heavenly!  If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, just substitute cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Note: this makes a lot!

Pumpkin Pie Playdough Recipe

5-1/2 cups flour
2 cups salt
8 teaspoons of cream of tartar
1 container (1-1/2 oz) of pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup oil
orange food coloring (2 parts yellow, 1 part red)
4 cups water

Mix all ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until all lumps disappear. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth. Store in a plastic bag.


Oreo Cookie Moon phases!

Edible science is the best kind.  :)


10 Ways to Make Today Magical.......

1.  Make a spooky family message for the answering machine.

2.  Cancel everything and just hang out together.  Sit on the porch swing & talk, go for a walk, bake bread or sort through old pictures and do a scrapbook together.

3.  Gather together old and outgrown coats, sweaters and other winter items to donate to clothing drives.  Take time together as a family to mend any holes and add some fun decorative accents like big buttons, decorative trim, etc. to make them more special for the recipients.

4.  Assign each family member the task of writing up 3 interview questions for the family.  Drop them in a jack-o-lantern or big bowl and put them in the center of the table to read during lunch.  Take turns drawing a question and answering it, then pass the pumpkin to the next person.  The questions can be silly (If you were an ice cream flavor, which one would it be?) or serious (What is something you did but later wished you hadn't?  What is something you're really proud of?).

5.  Take the time to write a letter to your child, just saying how much you love him and some things you've enjoyed doing with him lately.  Tuck it in a school book for him to find later.

6.  Go to a book reading at a local bookstore.

7.  Go jogging, biking or roller blading together.  Go farther than you've gone before and really push yourselves.

8.  Gather a pile of leaves and dive into them together.  Make a wild, wonderful mess.

9.  Plant some bulbs to force for winter blooms.  Hyacinths are especially colorful and fragrant, and very easy.  Just pot them up, put them in someplace cold for a few months, and then bring them out when you're ready to start faking spring.  Here's more information:

10. Set up a picnic table or card table outside and have a fall picnic supper.  Light a Jack-o-lantern for a centerpiece.  You could even roast marshmallows over it!


With that, I'm going to try to finally get this thing out and go find some kiddos to kiss.

Take it easy on yourselves.  It's hard work being a parent, and we all have days when we just want to go find a closet to climb into.  You're doing great.  The good thing about having children is that every single day is a new chance to connect with them & give them love.

Don't forget to take care of you!

Till next time.....



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.