Seven Things I Learned from a Hospital Family Magazine

Yesterday afternoon I found my pregnant wife on the floor. Dizzy, groggy, out-of-it.

We spent the afternoon and evening at the hospital to learn that her naturally low blood pressure doesn’t mix with pregnancy-induced anemia. In short, she needs to be taking iron supplements. No harm done (she apparently slowly put herself on the floor instead of passing out, and babies are vampiric — taking their share of the iron in their mom’s blood before she does).

We were there for six hours, this time with Little Miss, which made scrounging up dinner and keeping her entertained, well, actually not that bad. She’s a great kid. The only TV we watched was a birthing video, twice… the second time because Little Miss liked the rainbow-colored distortion on the oh-so-broken TV set.

And I somehow found time to peruse the one freebie magazine in the birth center, Family Fun Magazine. Despite it being owned by Disney, it’s surprisingly good.

One, it’s devoid of telltale Disney movie and TV advertising (but I did see a one ad for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment).

Two, it’s filled with great ideas for kids, roughly in the age range of 3 to 10. I may subscribe. Here are a few interesting finds (albeit, less interesting abbreviated and without the photos) from the February 2008 edition. The following links are to similar content because the full magazine is not online.

7. Pigeon Wants A… Contest. Mo Willems (author of the Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! series is having a contest. Kids 4- to 11-years-old draw a picture of what they think the pigeon wants in Mo’s next book. The winner gets a visit by Mo at his or her school and a complete collection of his books. A hundred other winners receive a copy of his new book due out in April. The contest deadline is March 3, 2008.

6. Make your own paper Chinese yo-yo. The linked instructions vary a bit. The magazine wisely suggests using a chopstick and scrapbooking paper.

5. Play with shadows on Groundhog Day, February 2. Have your shadow shake hands with someone else’s shadow. Fit your shadow inside someone else’s. Touch the tip of tall shadowy buildings and trees. Form letters with your arms and legs (you know, YMCA).

Oh, no, wait, I shouldn’t have looked for a YMCA video on Youtube. Parents buy the stupidest things.

4. Fill a portable wading pool with shredded paper and hunt for Easter eggs, or just goof off.

3.  The Karrels’ Double K Ranch is a family-friendly bed & breakfast in Tucson, Arizona. Sleep in a real Southern Pacific caboose. Play with a 1,000 foot garden railway. Mom and Dad stay for $135, and kids are $15 each, and babes under-2-years are free. I was impressed at the low price for the cool novelty accommodations.

2. Reused valentines. Grab an old deck of playing cards, cut a photo of your child’s face and glue-stick it onto the heart cards. The king-queen-jack are obvious uses; get more creative with the others.

1. Make your own sidewalk paint out of corn starch—and wash it away with water when playtime is over. The magazine has a great photo of a kid playing with a toy car on a zigzag roadway painted on asphalt.

There are a lot of other interesting topics, but I don’t want to regurgitate too much… Here’s a slim peek at a few more…

  • folding dollar bills to make stand-up "framed" portraits of Lincoln and Washington,
  • making an indoor snowman out of boxes and batting,
  • writing a family constitution for your kids,
  • step-by-step instructions for making six (actually cool, though delicate) winter animals out of Styrofoam and pipe cleaners,
  • advice on taking a less expensive vacation during spring break instead of during the summer, and
  • making orange slices filled with gelatin (Jell-O) using real orange peels.

Don’t miss the baby and toddler section of Family Fun’s website. It’s packed with ideas.


10 Responses to “Seven Things I Learned from a Hospital Family Magazine”

  1. Kim/hormone-colored days says:

    Glad your wife’s setback was only temporary.

    Family Fun is so inspiring, but I find my follow-through doesn’t match my enthusiasm for the various crafts and activities. Lots of great ideas, though. Thanks for sharing.

    January 30th, 2008 at 4:09 am

  2. Chief Family Officer says:

    I’ll have to check out that magazine.

    I’m glad your wife and the baby are okay. That must have been a little terrifying.

    January 30th, 2008 at 6:18 am

  3. Cecily T says:

    Wow…that was scary. I had low iron during my pgcy and I have naturally low BP. I took a natural supplement, Floradix while pg. Make sure your wife stays very hydrated. I ended up in hospital with dehydration a few months after I had my little one. My BP was very low from having too little water to help the blood circulate.

    Best wishes to you guys.

    About Family Fun…it’s funny, I have that open in tab right now, after I read about it on another blog.

    January 30th, 2008 at 6:44 am

  4. brandy says:

    I subscribed to Family Fun for about two years and it is neat. The holiday-themed issues are especially cool with crafts, recipes and other relevant activities (creative, inexpensive, do-it-yourself Halloween costumes for example). I ended my subscription just because my kids are small now and, since I’m keeping all my issues, we’ll have a good supply to draw on for the next few years. Then I may have to subscribe again!

    January 30th, 2008 at 10:40 am

  5. Tracie says:

    I love Family Fun, but a lot of the crafts are just too old for my 3.5 year old. I rip out the ones that look interesting and file them away for when she is a little older. I have made a lot of their recipes, and they are good. My subscription just ran out, but I’ll probably renew in a year or so.

    January 30th, 2008 at 12:05 pm

  6. kelli says:

    I enjoyed “Family Fun” magazine — especially when you can find a “free” offer or one which is sponsored by an advertiser. For a short while you could subscribe for $5 at

    The ideas are creative — I especially like the ideas sent in by families. (I think there’s a column called “it worked for me” and “my great idea” or something like that.)

    The monthly “snack” idea often annoys me since it’s candy/cake/cookie based (i.e. nothing that we could make up and bring to preschool to share for snack with other kids). We have to bring snack to school every 8 weeks, and it’s fun to have a theme (hearts for valentine’s day, etc.).

    January 30th, 2008 at 5:34 pm

  7. Meghan says:

    FYI: The infant-to-preschool equivalent is called Wondertime, ( ) which came out a couple of years ago. (We got a complementary copy in our hotel room at Disney World.) There are lots of interesting articles and crafts to be found there as well, I don’t get the magazine but I browse it online every once in a while.

    Glad to hear all is well with your wife, what a scary experience!

    January 30th, 2008 at 10:16 pm

  8. callmekelly says:

    I love their website. They have a months worth of meal ideas that I regularly go to for inspiration, their DIY ideas for decorating kids rooms are awesome, and I find something new each time I visit.

    January 30th, 2008 at 10:22 pm

  9. Christina says:

    Given your affinity for making things with boxes, I’m kind of surprised that the indoor snowman only got a bullet point at the end. Glad your wife’s okay!

    January 31st, 2008 at 6:32 am

  10. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    I subscribed to Family Fun for years — about a decade ago. (IE before I had any kids of my own) it eventually got purged in one of my “I’m not actually reading these” purges… But I can easily see picking it up again. IT was an excellent magazine with Great ideas. I got it for my sister for Christmas once and evidently they liked it enough they are still subscribing!

    I’m getting Wonder TIme right now. Not quite as fun, but just as good a magazine.

    January 31st, 2008 at 7:14 am

Post a comment

(will not be published)