Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 61
December 29, 2003

Happy New Year!!!

I am buried in little ones here, busy with crafts and books and projects and a house that refuses to keep itself clean.  We only managed to get out a fraction of the holiday cards so far and I'm behind on everything but my heartbeat, but we're all happy and relatively healthy so I've just decided to give up and enjoy the ride.  :)

I think my first resolution for the new year is going to be to remember to save my newsletter more often as I'm writing it, as my computer just crashed and ate half of what I'd written for you.

This part here was once marvelously witty.

So, before my computer does something else diabolical or I ramble into the new year, let's get on with it!

Some New Year's Day craft ideas....

New Year's Activities...


What to serve on New Year's Day???  How about...

New England Clam Chowder
New potatoes
New York style cheesecake
Or get some corn on the cob and tell the kids you wanted to wish them... Happy New Ears!


Resolved to eat healthier in the new year?  I found two great companies I wholeheartedly recommend for nutritious kid snacks.

~ Stretch Island Fruit Leather

This company makes fruit leather (similar to fruit roll-ups but made of real stuff) with refreshingly simple ingredient lists.  Ingredients in the apple flavor are: apples, lemon juice, cinnamon.  Nothing else, and that's one of the ones with the most ingredients!  There is no added sugar, no preservatives & nothing that doesn't deserve to be in a child's snack.

We got a sample pack of the organic varieties (apple, grape, strawberry, raspberry) and my kids scarfed them all up within a few days.  I've already ordered another box.  30 organic, individual wrapped fruit leathers are $14, with free shipping to the U.S.  The non-organic flavors (which includes lots more kinds) are slightly cheaper.

These are really tasty-- soft, chewy and filled with fruit flavor.

~ Just Tomatoes

Just tomatoes is kind of a funny company since they sell lots more than tomatoes.  :)  Whatever you buy from them is JUST that, though-- the dried tomatoes are just tomatoes, the strawberries are just strawberries, and so on.

The best part about these products is they are amazingly fun and tasty!  I'm used to dried fruits made with preservatives, ones that are chewy or hard.  These are crunchy and packed with flavor!  The blueberries and raspberries have the texture of Kix cereal with full berry flavor that melts in your mouth.  They're crunchy and sweet-tart.  Even 7 month old baby Jack loves to eat these as finger foods, and since they dissolve they're safe (I give him very little ones anyway, though).

Many of the products are available in organic varieties.  There are fruit mixes, veggie mixes, and lots more.  We especially loved the fruit munchies, blueberries and strawberries.  The tomatoes are packed with flavor and really jazz up sauces.

Note:  As always, I have no affiliation with these companies and got nothing at all to gush about them.


Here's Family Fun Magazine's list of great reader ideas for starting out the new year:


10 Ways to Make the New Year Magical.....

1.  Get out the wine glasses (plastic if you like) for New Year's supper and serve sparkling juice.  Go around the table making wishes for the new year for each other.

2.  Together, make up some fortunes (both serious and silly, but all good) and write them on slips of paper.  Roll the paper up into tubes and tie with ribbon, then place in a bowl.  Take turns drawing fortunes and read them aloud.

3.  Take out the calendar for next year and randomly fill in dates with fun things to do.  They don't have to be big things.  Make an appointment to eat supper in the back yard in June, to go to a matinee with your toddler in October, to all wear blue on February 9th...

4.  For each family member, take a sheet of paper and record the highlights of the past year.  Make a list of accomplishments, challenges, milestones, bad & good events, best friends, favorite activities, etc.  Take the time to make it beautiful and either slip it into a scrapbook or photo album.  Invite the kids to help decorate the pages.  Don't forget to do one for you, too!

5.  Make a goal collage for next year.  Grab some old magazines and have everybody cut out words, pictures and images that represent good stuff for the new year.  Either fill a scrapbook page for each person or start a family altered book from an old textbook and have each person make her/his own page.

6.  Make a symbolic fresh start.  For each family member, clean a small area somewhere on New Year's Eve.  Each person should help clear & organize her/his own space.  Whether it's cleaning off mom's desk, organizing a toddler's book shelf or making a teen's vanity table beautiful again, start the new year with a peaceful, tidy spot to focus on.

7.  Make breakfast wish roll-ups.  On New Year's morning, spread crepes or warmed flour tortillas with spreadable cream cheese.  Fill a plastic baggie with blueberry (or other berry) syrup and snip just the tip of the bag.  Help pipe symbolic one word wishes over the cream cheese (friends, $, A+, love...) and then roll up.  Serve with extra syrup for dipping and eat your words!

8. Invite each family member to make a list of goals for the new year.  These don't have to be resolutions but merely things each person wants to accomplish.  Some can be simple, some hard, some humorous... anything goes.  Save the sheets in a safe place for next year and then take a look at what everybody has accomplished (and what doesn't seem to matter anymore) a year later.

9.  Take the piles of art you've saved from this year and all of those old math papers, activity sheets and history quizzes.  Ask the children to put aside the special stuff and cull a nice pile of them to make streamers by running them through the paper shredder.  At midnight (or an earlier hour for little ones), do the countdown and toss it all in the air.

As long as there are no strange papers in there, the whole mess can be cleaned up and used as mulch on the garden, meaning that the art and history will help flowers grow in the new year.  No garden?  Mulch some house plants.  :)

10. Write a letter to your child, summing up the past year and expressing all your love and pride.  Date it & leave it on the pillow New Year's Eve.  (For younger kids, read it to them before bed and put it someplace safe for later.)


I wish you and your families all the best for the new year.  It's so easy to get caught up in the mayhem and the clutter and the lists of what we ought to be doing.  Don't forget what the biggest things on your to-do lists should be-- having fun, loving the heck out of your children & relishing life.

Slow down.  Give things up.  Laugh it off.  Make each day count, with at least one thing that is magical or truly matters.  And give yourself a break!

And when life gets crazy this year, take the advice of those wisest of people (aerobics instructors) and don't forget to breathe.  ;)

Happy New Year!!


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.