A field guide to living an intentional, creative and fun life — with children.

Tag Archives: family life

I love family art days. When our family gets together at the dining room table to do art together, my heart swells with pride. It’s perhaps one of my Top 10 family moments each year.

Fortunately and unfortunately we had time to throw together Family Art this past weekend.

To say that one of my girls was under the weather would be an understatement. It was the kind of illness that leaves you worried around the clock. The result was not only the cancelling of a very big trip but the inability to really do anything at all but sit and soothe.

In the middle of it all, I really wanted to do something fun and special to cheer us all up, especially the sick girl. First we wrote her little notes, which were fine but not enough. By the third day, notes just weren’t going to cut it.

And then I remembered a project I had been planning to do: A Family Banner. You can take this project in many directions, but we wanted it to be so simple that everyone could do it, even a very sick little girl. My amazing friend Jena sparked the concept of this project in me when she commented on my Wonder Board post about how she has conversations with her daughters about how to describe their family.

I love how this project requires a little thought, conversation and planning. I love how it gets us all thinking about what family means. I love that it’s artistic but also very meaningful to us. I love that it hangs just so under our family photos that mean so much to us as well.

Again, I emphasize that I love creative projects that are easy, accessible and practical. I feel this falls into that category perfectly. Anyone can do this with very simple materials and effort.

All you need to do this project is the following:

  • Colored Paper of your choice
  • White or lighter color paper of your choice
  • Yarn, string or some other hanging material
  • Hole punch
  • Art supplies — whatever you have on hand.

First I cut the papers to fit to a nice rectangle size. I actually used two colors of the background paper and a nice light gray.

And then, while everyone was sitting around — well, that’s all we did — I asked questions about what it means to be family such as what does family mean, family stands for ___ ? or what is our family like? For our girls, who are 6, it took a little effort to get this conversation started but once it did, their ideas were overflowing. These were some of their answers:

Family is cool

Family is sweet

Family is caring

Family takes care of each other

I added a few of my own as well …

Our family is beautiful

Family is forever.

We took turns writing those saying on each flag and then decorating those flags.

And then, the magical part, came when we each created our own Name flag for the banner. We wrote our names — I wrote my many names such as Mama, Mommy, Shawn, Writer, etc. — and then we gave them flair with collage!

We had a ton of fun with this part of the banner.

Our banner now hangs lovingly in our family room where we can all see it every day. It’s a nice happy reminder of what really matters each day — even when things really don’t go our way. A wonderful reminder that the four of us are always here for each other when the going gets tough.


A New Day -- buy on Etsy

When you wake today, May You Notice.

May you Pay attention.

May you see and honor the tiny, yet beautiful details of life unfolding before your very eyes. May you feel how the earth holds you up, grounds you and gives you something to stand on, something to stand for each day. May you smell the coffee as it gradually drifts from room to room. May you Breathe in the morning air, the smells of new beginnings, of starting overs, of delicious conspiracies you can turn into your reality.

May you see your partner. How he or she follows the same routine. How he or she takes time to notice the little things. May You hear what is not only said but meant. May You be open to that love between you.

Poster on Etsy. Click image for more details.

And when the children wake early, long before the sun rises, may you Notice.

May you Pay attention. May you realize this, too, will most definitely pass.

May you laugh as their bed head makes their hair do twisty, weird things. May you feel how their warmth radiates from their hearts, filling yours. Smell their sweetness and innocence before everyone gets too busy to gather close again. Notice what their eyes are drawn to out of curiosity and wonder. May You Notice what inspires them to smile. May you smile with them at the beauty of everything.

May You See Beauty by Lori Portka. Click image for details.

As you go about your day, and your family goes about theirs, May You Pay attention to the birds singing outside your windows. May you notice the way the green stems are peeking up through the ground. May you notice how the clouds are billowing away their time in the sky, traveling, floating. May You Notice the way all the human beings you pass are just human beings, fighting to survive another day themselves. May you notice how they warm your heart even if they are strangers, even if they are not like you.

And when you come back together as a family, May You Pay Attention to what isn’t said at all. May you look into each others eyes and notice how bright they are, or tired they are, or excited they are. May you cook slowly, eat slowly and linger long together, just relishing this meal for what it us — sustenance, soul food, nourishment. May you savor that food and the memories of eating together. May You Notice that this moment is what matters.

May You Pay Attention to the joy that crosses their faces as you say YES, finally, again, once more. May You Notice how that makes you feel, to make people happy because you can, because you wanted to and because you could.

As your day comes to an end, May You Notice how the light fades in each of your rooms. How the energy rises …. rises …. rises and then watch it as it falls, comes to a sleepy end. May You Notice how little bodies shiver and lips turn blue as they dry off from their bath. May You Notice how the knots have gotten more tangled as their hair has grown, as they have grown. May you notice that the line on the bathroom wall where you last measured is now far below where their head would be now.

May You Notice that life is right here, this moment and no other. May You Notice that you just survived a day without tackling your to-do list. May You Notice that you, too, have needs. A bath. A good book. A sweet wine. A massage. A long night’s sleep. To talk to a friend. To write long and full of run-on sentences because you have so much to express, so much to say and there aren’t enough hours to remember it all even though you really wish you could so you just have to write them down before you forget the beauty.

May You Pay Attention to all that matters today. And nothing more.

For more mindful living inspiration, check out Amaze Yourself & Say Yes More, Amaze Yourself & Do Less and Amaze Yourself & Act Silly.



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