Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 62
February 7, 2004

Hello magical people!  Here's hoping that you're warm and happy in whatever corner of the world you're in.  Or at least happy.  That warm part is a little tricky around here at the moment.

If you're going to be stuck inside you might as well have some fun.  Here's some ideas I've gathered for you this month.....


Got snow?  Well then, make sno-cones!

To make your own sno-cone syrup, combine one envelope kool-aid, one cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water.  Want it  healthier?  Just use undiluted fruit juice concentrate.  Store it in a sport bottle in the fridge and drizzle over packed, clean snow (or crushed ice).

No snow?  Well, that's not fair!  If your blender can crush ice, fake it with this "Snow slushy" recipe:  Mix one cup of pale juice (apple, white grape) with 6 ice cubes and a dash of lemon juice or honey to taste (both optional).  Blend until snowy.
(Adapted from a recipe at

And Magical Mama Carol shared this fun recipe:
Ice Cream from Snow

Materials Needed:

    * 1 cup of milk
    * 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    * 1/2 cups sugar
    * CLEAN Snow

Go outside and get 4 - 5 cups of fresh, clean snow.  Don't pack the snow! Bring it in the house and set it in the freezer until you need it.

Mix together the milk, vanilla, and the sugar. Stir this mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly add the snow to your mixture, stirring constantly, until it is as thick as ice cream! Eat up!


A few good books...
Here are some of our current favorites to check for at your local library.

Mean Soup by Betsy Everitt
Horace has a terrible day so his delightful mother starts boiling water to make a special recipe together.

The Pain and the Great One by Judy Blume
This picture book is ideal for kids with those terribly annoying brothers and sisters who have it so much easier.  Told from both the standpoints of the first grade "pain" and third grade "great one," it's a favorite for both of my kids.

Wool Gathering by Lisa Wheeler
This darling book is sure to have parents and little ones groaning with its rhyming silliness about a sheep family reunion.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
This chapter book from the 40's features a fun loving old lady who understands children and loves their company.  All of the mothers in town soon turn to her for her wonderful cures for talking back, not cleaning messes, selfishness and more.

A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
Annalee's current favorite picture book, this one tracks the case of poor Camilla, who develops a most unusual condition.  It's a wonderful book about being yourself.


A reader sent in this wonderful idea for a fun lazy craft-- painting on mom!

I often give my kids a bowl with a few squirts of lotion and a paintbrush and tell them to have at it!  When they've filled their "canvas", they can just rub it in and start all over!!  No pesky decorations to try to remember in the middle of "Mommy Fog"...and the bonus of REALLY soft skin!  Backs are the perfect canvas in my opinion!

I love it.  :)


Here's a fun game to play inside on wintry days.

Blow up a balloon and bop it back and forth.  The catch?  Each person has to say the name of something in a particular category before she can hit it.  For instance, if the category is colors then the kids can shout blue, red, green, etc.

It sounds easy but it's harder than you think!  Even I was going "um, um, um......" and barely getting vegetable names out before the balloon hit.  As you use up the easy words, it gets trickier and sillier.

This can be adapted to any age and any subject.  Some ideas-- countries, U.S. presidents, fruits, holidays, animals, the periodic table of elements......  ;)


Valentines Cupcakes

Want to make heart shaped cupcakes?  Fill paper cupcake cups half full with batter and tuck a ball of tinfoil in between the cup and the pan for each cupcake.  Bake as usual and decorate.

Valentines Cakes

And the heart-shaped cake-- easy as pie.  ;)  Make a standard cake, pouring half the batter in one square pan and half in one round one.  Bake, cool, and remove from pans.  Arrange the square cake on a large plate, turned so it's a diamond shape.  Cut the circle cake exactly in half and put one half circle along each top side of the diamond, forming a heart.  Frost.

Good grief, more heart shapes......

You can also use large metal open-ended heart-shaped cookie cutters as molds for anything from scrambled eggs to pancakes.  Just lightly spray with nonstick spray (the mold and the pan), put on the griddle and pour the batter or eggs in.  Flip very carefully once one side is fully set.  This works better with thicker batters, obviously.  Careful, the cookie cutters get very hot!


Cold outside?  Make your own ice sculpture!

If it's wintry outside you might as well take advantage of it.  Have the kids gather up all different kinds of containers in lots of different shapes and sizes.  Some ideas are:

bundt cake pans
cupcake pans
balloons (blow a little extra air in after adding the water)
pringles cans
plastic cups
sand castle molds
character cake pans
plastic vases

Fill each container with water and add a few drops of food coloring if you like (an adult should do this since it stains).  Take them outside and let them freeze.  If you're in one of those lovely warm places, stick it all in your freezer and count your blessings.  ;)

When they're fully frozen, unmold by quickly dunking in a bucket of warm water (or pop the water balloons).  Find a nice bird bath, picnic table or upturned garbage can to assemble the masterpiece on.  They can use snow as glue or just pile the shapes in whatever designs they like.  Embellish with bits of nature or waterproof toys.

To keep kids from getting too sad when their masterpieces melt, drop tiny treats like dragon tears or nickels in a couple of the containers.  They'll have to wait out the thaw to finally get to them!


FREE 3D glasses!

This great company will send you one pair of fun and educational glasses free for a SASE.  Choose from 3D glasses, fireworks glasses (my personal favorite) or 3D TV viewers.  We ordered a bunch of eclipse glasses from them for a homeschool event and they sent a whole assortment of free glasses since we were teachers.  Check out the free science projects too!
(As always-- No affiliation, kickbacks or free goodies were involved in the posting of this link!)


When the kids are bored while I'm cooking supper, I let them go through the pantry and pick out cans and boxes to decorate.  They use crayons and markers to draw all over them and then just pop them back on the shelves when they're done.  I love my altered groceries and they get to spend time talking to me while we all work.



"Make your baby a really cute looking romper from an older child's T-shirt or tank top. Just make sure the hem of the shirt hangs a few inches lower than the baby's diaper crotch. Stitch 2"-3" of Velcro® loop (or 2-3 snap "heads") on the inside of the hem, center-front, and 2"-3" of Velcro® hook (or 2-3 snap "holes") on the outside of the hem, center-back. If you find the neck opening a bit too big, just overlap the fabric at the back of the neck, and add a dot of Velcro® or one snap to hold it closed.  Then you just slip your new baby romper onto your baby, and fasten at the crotch - how adorable!!"

From Born to Love's Frugal Baby Tips


Valentines Day Craft:  Fixing broken hearts

Here's an easy and simple art project.  Draw some large hearts on plain paper, cardboard or cardstock (one per sheet) and ask the kids to color them.  Encourage them to do some differently and then a few the same.

For the hearts that look the same, cut them out and cut down the middle of each one in a different way.  For instance, cut one with a big wave and another in a zig zag pattern.  For the hearts that are different, cut in two pieces however you like.

Now give little ones the broken hearts and have them put each one with its other half.


10 Ways to Make Today Magical.....

1.  If you have snow, invite the kids to make giant "tracks" to attach to their snow boots.  Cut strange looking feet out of a large cardboard box and cut two holes in the bottom (slightly wider than the boot) to tie on.  Tie around each boot and have the kids tromp through the snow leaving their wacky tracks.  If your tots are too little, do it yourself and then surprise them with the mystery footprints.

2.  Buy or make a greeting card for your child saying how much you love her, just because.  Leave it someplace for her to find in private.

3.  Go sledding inside!  Get out a big towel and drag the kids around the kitchen floor.  Kids can pull each other around, too.

4.  Go to the dollar store and let your child pick out a beautiful, unique glass or mug to be his own for family meals.

5.  Hang art, photos and souvenirs on the insides of all the cupboards for an instant smile.

6.  Make a list of 50 things you love about your child and read it to him or slip it in his backpack.

7.  Let the kids paint fun scenes or designs on the bottoms of their shoes.  (To protect the rest of the shoe, slip it through a plastic bag with an oval cut out just smaller than the sole and tape in place.)

8.  Get together some graham crackers, peanut butter and a variety of bird seeds and nuts and make a "gingerbread house" for the birds and squirrels.  Assemble like a regular house with peanut butter as the icing/glue.  Take a picture of your masterpiece and then leave it where it's visible from inside so you can watch to see who visits.

9.  Start a nightly routine of giving your baby a massage.  Even big babies love this relaxing, pampering luxury.

10. Check out some books, musicals or other performances on tape from your local library and play them while you make supper together each evening-- or at least one evening a week.  Take turns getting to choose what to pick and be adventurous!


I've heard from lots of moms this past month who are feeling overwhelmed, burned out, stressed and generally out of sorts.  It seems universal, especially this time of year.

I know I may give the impression I'm some sort of Disney character who flits around feeling marvelous 24 hours a day, but don't be fooled for a minute!  I am just as prone to being grumpy, mopey, stressed and growly as the next person.

My biggest secret for feeling better is the same thing I tell you every month.  Don't forget to take care of you!

Find small ways to give yourself a break, do things you love and slow down.

Take a nap with the kids, call in sick, ask for help, sit and color paper dolls together, get yourself a fabulous tasting coffee for afternoon breaks, put on happy music, get out of the house, call a friend, paint your nails, put beautiful things on your desk that make you smile, get a bestseller on tape to listen to on your drive home, dump an obligation, pray or meditate, take up an art, delegate, wrestle with your sweetie, have sandwiches and fruit for supper, indulge in a guilty pleasure.......

It's not enough to give your kids a magical life.  Make your own magical too.  No excuses!

I'm working on lots of ideas along this theme for the next issue.  Please write in and share how you fight burn-out and take care of yourself and I'll pass those along too.

In the meantime, here's an old newsletter that was all about the same subject:  You.

Have a magical month!!!!!!!!


A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2004, 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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