Magical Childhood Newsletter
Volume 76
August 18, 2007

It's a boy!!!

Sorry for the delay in getting this out but we've been a little busy!

Alexander Scott was born May 3, 2007 at 7:14 a.m.  He weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces and was 20 inches long with brown hair and dark blue eyes.  He's an incredibly sweet natured, easy going, fun little guy and we are over the moon in love with him. We are so blessed.

I've been putting aside bits of things to share with you, so let's get on with it then!


A little change to the newsletter...

Over the years it has taken me longer and longer to get these newsletters to you, as both my family and the number of subscribers has grown.  In order to be able to manage the newsletter, get it out more often and get to focus on the fun part (yapping to you all!), I've created a mailing list through yahoo.  The list will not be a chat list and signing up will ONLY get you the newsletter (no spam, no other messages, etc.).  If you click on "traditional" (not "fully featured") setting it will stick the ads at the very bottom.

I will continue to post the newsletters on the web site so you're free to read them there, too.

To keep getting the newsletter in your inbox, send a blank message to:


Okay, on to the fun stuff!

Here's a creative way to recycle an old t-shirt-- turn it into a bib.  Cute!


Magical Mama Neve shared this neat tidbit:

"My girlfriend Helene told this to me as she is up vacationing in Cape Cod.  She said that snails will come out of their shell (not fully just to look at you) if you hold them close and sing to them.  She said she has been doing it with her 5 year old daughter and without an exception it worked."

How fun!  We'll have to find some snails to try this out with!  :)


End of summer crafts
Here's a few fun ways to celebrate the last of the season...

Make a summer medallion.  Give each child a cut out shape of clear contact paper (oval, heart, flower, circle, etc.) and head outside.  Have them collect little bits of nature and press them onto the contact paper.  Some nifty items are clover leaves, small flowers, petals and small leaves.  When the design is finished, top it with a piece of construction paper and press firmly to seal.  Trim the paper to fit the shape, punch a hole in the top, and use yarn or ribbon to make a necklace.

Make garden stones.  Have the kids gather up a bunch of fairly large, fairly smooth rocks (the size of their fist is good).  Put them in the bottom of an old box and spray paint them white.  Allow them to dry, turn them over, and spray the other side.  Now give the kids the rocks and lots of waterproof markers, paint pens or acrylic paint.  They can make garden mascots
like funny bugs and beasties, cute sayings, or paint larger ones as whimsical doorstops. 

Here's a simple rainy day project.  Paint a rainy day!  Give the kids white paper and some white crayons.  Have them draw clouds and raindrops all over the picture (they will look invisible).  Now give them watercolor paints and have them draw a landscape over it.  The crayon areas will stay magically white and create the clouds and rain.


Here's an easy way to teach the nines times tables to kids...

Hold your hands out,  fingers spread.
Think of each finger as representing the numbers 1 through 10.
To multiply 9 times a number, bend the finger that corresponds to that number down.
The number of fingers before the bent finger is the tens place number.
The number of fingers after the bent finger is the ones place.

For instance~
9x2 = Bend down the second finger.  There is 1 finger left of it and  there are 8 fingers on the other side of the bent finger.  9x2=18.
9x10 = Bend down the tenth finger.  There are 9 fingers before it and 0 after it, leaving 90.

There are other tricks to teaching nines as well.

One is to write the numbers 0 to 9 (going up) down a sheet of paper and then write 9 to 0 (going down) next to those numbers to make 09, 18, 27, etc.

Another is to take the number you want to multiply and take one away to make the tens digit and then the ones digit is however much you need to add to that number to equal 9.  For instance, 9x7 = 6 (one less than 7) and 3 (what you need to add to make 9) or 63.  This is how Victoria and I do it if we forget.

Forget your 4's times tables?
In a pinch, just double the number and double it again.
6x4 = 6x2 (12) x 2 = 24


Crayon Projects...

Magical Mama Nancy shared this classic project:

"This is really easy - a little like stained glass - you just cut out a shape in wax paper (2 pieces), grate or shave some crayons on the bottom one, put the top one over and iron.  Then punch a hole and hang it up.  They are pretty and I figure I should use my iron for something once in a while.  You can also do the same thing on a tee-shirt or whatever.  The wax will wash off but the color will stay."

We've done the waxed paper craft but not for a long time, and the t-shirt one is new for us. I put a thin cloth between the iron and the waxed paper to avoid getting wax on the iron.  Not that mine gets much use besides crafts either!  :)  Thanks Nancy!

And to further use those crayons, here's one from Magical Mama Elizabeth:

"Take broken crayon bits, microwave to melt ( takes a while!--a water bath around the crayon dish seemed to help), and pour into small cookie cutters or heatproof molds. Then you have cool shaped crayons: stars, moons, etc. I've had even more fun with this than with using my small cookie cutters for cookies: I bought a neat little tin with 8 one inch cookie cutters from a fellow mom selling stuff for a fund raiser, and the cutters are perfect for this, while too tiny for practical use for cookies.  I [blush] even broke a good crayon for this one. Don't tell! "

Oops!  I suppose I just did!  <G>  Thanks Elizabeth!


"Each of us owes it to our spouse, our children, our friends, to be as happy as we can be.
And if you don't believe me, ask a child what it's like to grow up with an unhappy parent,
or ask parents what they suffer if they have an unhappy child."

-- Dennis Prager


A few good books....
Magical Mama Beth writes:
I know you love to read to your monsters…so here are some wonderful books I recently discovered at my library meetings.  Enjoy!

--An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Aston.  Beautiful illustrations.  I'm not a big fan of non-fiction, but this is perfectly done.

--Max's Words by Kate Banks.  This is a story for anyone who has siblings.  It's about being different and finding your own niche.

--When Giants Come to Play by Andrea Beaty.  The perspective in this book is phenomenal.

--Blue 2 by David Carter.  This is not a book I would buy for my library, but it is one that I think my son will own.  Lots of pop-up art.

--Anyone who does not know the Doreen Cronin books about the farm animals (Click, Clack, Moo or  Click, Clack, Splish, Splash) needs to check one out at a bookstore or library.  They are a riot!

--How high can a dinosaur count? by Valorie Fisher.  Cute for dinosaur lovers everywhere!

--Walk On! A Guide for Babies of All Ages by Marla Frazee.  This is such a cute story.  I know many babies in my life who will be getting this book soon! And for those of you who know a librarian, you know we have to really like a book to buy it for a gift.

--And here are a few others to look up... Big Chickens (Leslie Helakoski), Pirate Bob (Kathryn Lasky),  Follow The Line (Laura Ljungkvist), Art (Patrick McDonnell), Superhero ABC (Bob McLeod), Building With Dad (Carol Nevius), and 17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore (Jenny Offill).

A lot of these are new to me so we'll be looking them up.  Thanks Beth!


A few neat crafts to try!

We tried this one and kept accidentally making Oobleck (see the Magical Childhood craft section for more info on that marvelous stuff).  The kids still had fun drizzling and dabbing it for great designs.  If you get better results, write in and share your secret!

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
6 to 8 drops food coloring

Mix cornstarch and cold water together in a small plastic bowl. Add food coloring and stir. Repeat this process to create different colors of sidewalk paint.

Use sidewalk paint for painting large areas,  such as hopscotch grids, make-believe roads and highways, etc. When done, you can wash it away with the garden hose.

ROFL, you know what my kids' sidewalk paint is?  Mushed up chalk and water from the hose!  They call it chalk paint, and they make it until it is sort of like a paste.  My grama insists they call it "woad"  (insert rolling of eyes here).  It's good for pretend make-up, "paint", all sorts of stuff!  It's just fun!  (except blue chalk paint is no fun to get off clothes, so I have limited it to anything outdoors, but on a person, only skin).

Love it!  Thanks Janina!

4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup warm water
4 to 6 drops food coloring

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into a small plant mister.

Shake before using to avoid clogs. You can use this to create designs on sidewalks, in the snow, or at the beach for colorful sand sculptures.

1 part grated soap
1 part beeswax
Concentrated food color paste

Melt beeswax in a small can placed in boiling water. Add the grated soap and stir until the soap melts and the mixture is smooth. Color the mixture with dry food coloring paste. Pour into lubricated aluminum foil molds. After testing the crayon, it can be melted again and more coloring added.

(Note: This was posted anonymously online and I haven't tried it yet.  I'm not sure which type of soap to use.  If you experiment with this one with the kids, please write in and share your results!)

Color rice, macaroni or pasta with this easy-to-make dye.  We use this recipe a lot!

1 container with lid
1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol
6 drops food coloring

Put rubbing alcohol and food coloring into the container. Place the objects to be dyed into the mixture, and secure the lid. Shake the container gently for about 1 minute and do a little dance.  ;)

Spread the dyed objects on a paper towel to dry.

If you dye noodles with large openings, you can string them and make necklaces, bracelets, etc. You can also dye rice or sand and make beautiful art projects. Use your imagination!

A quick grin....

"Having children is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain."
-- Alan Bleasdale


Magical Mama Jennifer wrote in....

"A couple of craft ideas:

We made rainbows today from half of the outside rim of a paper plate: tissue paper colors, cotton ball clouds, and sparkle streamers and glitter glue for fun.

We made suncatchers with two pieces of clear contact paper and  bits of tissue paper between. Since I have a two and a half year old, we just put them on any old way, but for an older child, you could make designs."

Thanks Jennifer!


Here's a cute little beaded worm the kids can make:
A far more adept newsletter author would make that into a cute little clickable link, but alas, my program is not cooperating and I have a baby on my lap so you'll have to settle for the mile long version!

Have a children's party coming up?  Here's a fun way to serve up the punch...

For homemade, all natural fruit soda, mix a can or two of fruit juice concentrate with soda water (available in two liter bottles where soda is sold) instead of just water.  Use light colored juices, like pineapple or apple.  Do this at the last minute, so the punch stays fizzy.  Be sure to use soda water (which is just plain carbonated water) instead of seltzer water.  You can also use a real soda like 7-up.

Ahead of time:  Fill two ice cube trays with other colors of fruit juice like grape (purple) and apple-cherry (hot pink).  Freeze.  If you like, you can fill another tray or two with regular water and drop edible flowers like pansies (be sure no pesticides were used on them!), individual raspberries or blueberries, or other tasty garnishes.

Mix it all together at the party and swirl with the ice cubes to mix.  The colored ice cubes will make a rainbow of the punch and as they all melt the flavor will keep changing.  Plus, it's all natural and has no added sugar.  Fun!


Magical Mama Barb recommended this gorgeous, simple craft to make Harry Potter wands (or fairy wands or magician's wands....).  They are just beautiful!  Thanks Barb!


Here's a sweet poem with some important reminders for all of us...

Childhood Doesn't Wait
(Author Unknown)

I was sitting on a bench
while in a nearby mall,
When I noticed a young mother
with two children who were small.

The youngest one was whining,
"Pick me up," I heard him beg
but the mother's face grew angry
as the child clung to her leg.

"Don't hang on to me," she shouted
as she pushed his hands away,
I wish I'd had the courage
to go up to her and say...

"The time will come too quickly
when those little arms that tug,
Won't ask for you to hold them
or won't freely give a hug.

"The day will sneak up subtly
just as it did with me,
When you can't recall the last time
that your child sat on your knee.

"Like those sacred, pre-dawn feedings
when we cherished time alone
Our babies grow and leave behind
those special times we've known.

"So when your child comes to you
with a book that you can share,
Or asks that you would tuck him in
and help him say his prayer...

"When he comes to sit and chat
or would like to take a walk,
Before you answer that you can't
`cause there's no time to talk"
Remember what all parents learn
so many times too late,
That years go by too quickly
and that childhood doesn't wait.

"Take every opportunity,
if one should slip away
Reach hard to get it back again,
don't wait another day."
I watched that mother walk away
her children followed near,
I hope she'll pick them up
before her chances disappear.


10 Ways to Make Today Magical....

1.  Have a photo shoot in the park.  Bring lots of props and costume changes like tiaras, funny hats, daddy's old suit jacket, Halloween costumes, lipstick, capes (blankets work), buckets big enough for sitting in, handmade signs, feather boas, costume jewelry, magic wands, you name it.  Be goofy!  Goofiness can make the best pictures.

2.  Pick up a giant cardboard box from an appliance shop and let the kids turn it into a spaceship, grocery store, castle, etc.

3.  Go to a picturesque spot and create a piece of art together.  Bring a sketchpad or some blank paper, some colored pencils or markers or crayons, and just sit and and work on it.  Hand the sketchpad back and forth and create your masterpiece together.  No insecurities allowed!  Model for your child how to love something even if you're not the best in the world at it.  Put the finished piece in a scrapbook, scan it to make it your wallpaper on your computer, or frame it.  Be sure to both sign it and date it!

4.  Check out your local chamber of commerce or tourist publications and find someplace in your area to visit for the first time.  Try a new park, museum, art gallery or restaurant together.

5.  Bring a sweet treat to some ants in the back yard or park and watch them work.  Oh sure, it may not sound exciting to you, but to a small child who's never seen an ant colony in action it can be fascinating.  See how much one ant can lift and whether they'll work as a team on something bigger.  Lie on your bellies and watch the world we never take the time to notice.

6.  Visit a local farmer's market and pick out some fresh produce together.  Be sure to try something you've never had before.  At home, have some taste tests comparing flavors and make a simple recipe together with some of the new goodies.

7.  Stage a glow in the dark party outside.  Have the kids decorate the driveway and sidewalks with GITD chalk.  Pass out glow sticks.  Use GITD paint to make a ball toss in the side of a cardboard box (cut a circle to toss the ball or bean bag through and color around it with the paint so people know where to aim and then paint a design on the ball as well).  Scatter small GITD stars or trinkets around the yard as treasure hunt party favors, making sure they are still exposed to sun so they'll glow when needed.  You can make candle luminaries out of old cans to further light up the yard.  Encourage people to wear GITD clothes, too.  If things start to fade, give the kids flashlights to recharge them with light.

8.  Go play basketball, tennis, volleyball or even catch together.

9.  Without telling the kids, try to spend an entire day without saying no.  You can be creative with alternatives (like saying "I
don't think that will work out today" and such) but as much as possible try to say yes.  See if the mood of the house changes and if saying yes works out better than you would have thought.  Plan a pampering reward for yourself if you accomplish it.

10. Buy a dozen or so little candies or trinkets and wrap them in notes that say "I love you!".  Hide them in drawers, under pillows and in other places where your child will be surprised. 


And with that, my dears, I'm off to snuggle and play with some little people and try to tunnel my way through the living room.
Hug your kiddos, count your blessings, and don't forget to take care of you!

~ Alicia

A Magical Childhood
Copyright 2007, 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 blank message to  We do not use ads.  It's not about money.  :)

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