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

Tag Archives: family traditions

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.

Sometimes, it seems, all we do as parents is say no.

No. No. No.

And, many times, it’s in everyone’s best interest that we do respond with No. No, you cannot watch more TV. No, you may not have more ice cream. No, you cannot stay up late on a school night.

We also say no to ourselves a whole lot, as well. No, you cannot sleep in. No, you shouldn’t take that bubble bath in the middle of the day. No, you can’t call out sick to work.

But sometimes — probably more than we’d like to admit– Yes is more than necessary. It’s essential. It’s the difference between a good day and a bad day. It’s the difference between a grumpy child and a happy child. Yes can be the beginning of a happy memory. Yes can be the treat we all needed for a long, long time. Yes can be the hug someone needs.

That’s why the Yes Day was created. Yes to (nearly) everything.

Yes to watching TV and eating breakfast AT THE SAME TIME.

Yes to a donut.

Yes to potato chips with lunch.

Yes to playing some weird game that was created and I don’t know the rules and, therefore,I  lose.

Yes to more TV.

Yes to more junk food.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Of course, one yes leads to more, “Mommy, can I …” questions. And it seems as if the barage of questions and begging doesn’t end. And that’s why the one day of nothing but yeses feels so wonderful. There is no thought to it. Just say yes. Give yourself the break from debate of what is right and what is wrong. Give yourself the day off, in other words.

I’d like to think that most of the time, our family balances a great deal of yeses with a great deal of nos. Most days out of the week we dance the yes/no dance. The Yes Day helped the kids feel good about themselves and their decisions.

We all felt good. Like we did something crazy, or something.

Have you ever tried a Yes day at your house? I’d love to know some of the things you said yes to either then or on a regular basis!

Now that we’ve done the Yes Day with the kids, perhaps it’s time for an adults Yes Day — a day to say yes to our dreams, which may or may not be to sit in front of the TV eating a whole bag of potato chips with dip while watching movies.

Now that would be crazy.

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