Magic

Fireworks_070417“It looks magical!” exclaimed my 10 year old friend, a recent immigrant from Rwanda, as we sat next to each other on a blanket, watching fireworks paint bright streaks across the black sky. It was another “first” for her in her new life in America. Nearby, her one year old brother and my 5 year old son sat unnaturally still, entranced (as we all were) by the sight, while rainbows of color danced in their sparkling eyes. As long as I can remember, Independence Day and fireworks have always gone hand-in-hand, precluded by a full day of fun and feasting with beloved friends and family. The formula doesn’t alter much from year to year, and yet it is one of those iconic American traditions that never gets old. At any other time of year, the list of things to be checked off and hassles to be endured might have seemed like more of an inconvenience than a pleasure – cleaning, shopping, cooking, packing, crowds, noise, heat, traffic, unpacking, more cleaning – but as my young friend alluded, there is something inherently magical about days with so much “living” packed into them that by the time you fall into bed, once you finally make it back home, you are wobbly from contented exhaustion.

Today has been the opposite of yesterday in nearly every way. Yesterday, I never stopped moving (and never minded). But today, I’m not ashamed to admit that I didn’t crawl out of bed until long past “normal” breakfast time and I’ve barely moved from my favorite chair, except to refill my coffee cup and snack on yesterday’s abundant leftovers. As I sit on my “island” surveying the aftermath of a dozen warm bodies moving in, out & about my house, instead of compiling yet another To Do list, my mind keeps calling up grainy images from my memory – bits & pieces from party games that have yet to find their way back into the correct boxes recall bursts of uproarious laughter around the dining table; red cups & star-shapped straws dotting the landscape recall kitchen countertops groaning under the weight of so much food & conversations mingling in the air along with mouthwatering aromas; pint-sized wet clothing draped over the rim of the tub recalls squeals of laughter from children running through the sprinkler in the sunshine; the half-smeared remnant of a “dinosaur eye” painted on my son’s face recalls him sitting with barely-controlled patience for the artist to finish her work so he could get back to bouncing his way through all the inflatables; and the subtle soreness of my muscles recalls the movement of my body as I performed with pleasure the duties of a hostess, ensuring the comfort & enjoyment of those whom I most love in the world and then, as the day drew to a close, finally letting go of all responsibility and allowing myself to bounce and sway however I pleased to the rhythm of live music at a riverfront festival.

Magic. Yes, indeed, there is something magical about a day that can make you completely forget everything that normally occupies the most space in your subconscious mind. The itinerary of next week’s work & school schedule, bills to be paid, household renovations to be completed, political shennanigans to fret over, crises big & small – my own as well as others’ – crying out for attention. Where did they go?

In the soft, orange light of the setting sun, last night I laid down on a blanket with my hands under my head and stared up at the swirling clouds – pure summer bliss. Presently, a few drops of rain made cool spots on my face & arms, but I didn’t care. There was nothing I needed to do and no one who needed my help. In that moment, I simply existed. I cannot remember the last time I felt so gloriously free. But a day devoted to the celebration of freedom reminded me that there is so much more to life then the acrobatics required to get through modern adulthood. We experience life at its fullest when we engage all five senses, and yesterday was a colorful kaleidoscope of opportunities to do just that. Tomorrow, I must return to being a “grownup”. But I intend to make a little more room, going forward, for embracing fun & creativity in my regular routine. Making magic wherever I can.

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DIY Christmas Star Stained Glass Ornament Craft For Kids

Kids Christmas diy paper star ornament craft uses crayons & wax paper for a faux stained glass hanging that will look amazing in any window. Preschool art project. Make a fun & easy suncatcher for the holidays. By Shalom Schultz Designs.

What a fun weekend project this was & the perfect way to spend some extra time with my little helper! First we used pencil sharpeners to spread crayon shavings over a piece of wax paper I’d taped to the counter (with card stock underneath), then we placed another piece of wax paper (topped with more card stock) on top & mommy ran an iron over it on a ‘low’ setting to melt the colors together, giving them that lovely stained glass look. After the paper had cooled, we traced star shapes with a cookie cutter & I cut them out with my exacto knife (which I found produced cleaner edges than scissors). They are truly show-stopping when the sunlight is streaming through the window! And we even have enough left over to decorate his teachers’ Christmas gifts.

Easy DIY Paper Leaf Garland Craft To Do With Your Kids

Easy DIY Fall Paper Leaf Garland Craft for Kids and Adults. Autumn decorating with unique modern art you make yourself.

The autumn wind has been doing a very thorough job of blowing away all the gorgeous leaves from the trees on my street, but my 4 yr old son Connor & I found a way to keep the vibrant fall colors around a bit longer. Using simple clip art images from the internet, I traced the shapes on to colored paper & he made them pretty! When we had all we wanted, I cut them out & he helped me punch holes and string them together.

Easy DIY Fall Paper Leaf Garland Craft for Kids and Adults. Autumn decorating with unique modern art you make yourself.

When we were finished, I hung the garland up in his window. We make a great team & I love the unique, organic appearance of each leaf. If you’re looking for a way to spend some quality time with your little ones – whether you have just a few minutes, or a whole afternoon – you might want to give this a try. Happy Fall Crafting!