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    Staying Connected - Printable Lunchbox Cards

    I've created these printable cards for lunchboxes, backpacks, taping to bathroom mirrors, leaving under pillows… wherever you want to give your child a special message. Little words go a long way towards staying connected.


    (above is the small version, just for displaying on the site.)

    Download the larger printable version here: 

    kellynaturally-lunchboxcards.jpg (509.87 kb)

    Posted: Jun 13 2012, 11:50 by kelly | Comments (3) RSS comment feed |
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    A Vision Board for Family Harmony

    We’ve been dealing with a lot of BIG feelings around here recently – at ages 7 and almost 5 (along with ages 34 and 36!). Some days I find the bickering, along with the nudging to: “be gentle”, “stop fighting”, “treat each other with kindness”, paired with constant redirection, repeating, and reminders of why we SHOULDN’T hit, and what we SHOULD do instead when we feel angry… all to be a bit too much for me. At times, I’ve felt out of control as a parent – meaning, I feel like my children are just tumbling forward ahead of me in a snarling cat and dog tangle, and I’m running behind, holding a broken leash, discouraged (will they ever understand that peace feels better than conflict?) and confused (what am I doing wrong?).  I KNOW my children’s actions and feelings aren’t mine to control. Yet, I also know it is my job (and desire!) to encourage and teach them to express their feelings in creative and helpful ways – instead of destructive and hurtful ways. But I’m not so good at being that proverbial rubber ball. The things our children say and do all have an effect on me! So, it’s a delicate balance of letting them work through their OWN feelings, keeping myself from being hurt by words they may throw without fully meaning them, telling them when they do say things that aren’t acceptable, and giving them gentle (yet firm at times), direction and examples.

    Parenting is hard, that’s just a fact. Doesn’t matter whatever else you have going on in your life, parenting is still a difficult job – a ton of responsibility – not just to physical everyday tasks (the washing, care, and feeding of kids), but the emotional guidance and teaching of a new and small human to whom everything is NEW – feelings, reactions, objects, experiences, everything.


    In a moment of calmness today, I sat down at my computer, feeling still frustrated, yet hopeful about finally finding that key to helping settle the next cat-and-dog quarrel, when suddenly an email I’d written a year ago, popped out to me from last year. The title was VISION BOARD. Vision board, what’s a vision board? I opened the email, (which was just a link to an image…) and was met with a collage of inspirational words: Possibilities. Power. Happiness Lingers. Energy. Prosperity. Love. Be Transformed.  Along with beautiful images: flowers, a women jumping, an island in the middle of a calm sea.

    (source: http://powerful-living.biz/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/lc-2008-map.jpg)

    My hope increased. This, I thought, is EXACTLY what I’m going to do. Make a vision board!

    So, what IS a vision board? 


    It’s a visual reminder of what you’d like to be, where you see yourself in the future, what you believe you can achieve, or what you would like to have more of in your life. It’s a way to envision where you’re going and what you’re reaching for – and to take that vision out of your mind, and into a place where you can see it every day.  The intention of making a vision board is to put your desires out in front of you (and into the universe), in order to help you focus on what you want more of (Peace! Harmony!), instead of what you don’t want (Bickering. Quarrelling.); all in the hopes that you’ll discover what you want finds you more often, and in greater quantity.


    I liken in to the experience of waking up after a less-than-stellar night’s sleep (what? No sleep? Huh?) – and having your thoughts turn to, “ugh, I’m SO tired, HOW am I going to make it through this day?” – and then continuing through that day, which, often turns out to be pretty rough. Versus a day when, in spite of bone-tiredness, you get up, smile in the mirror, and find something wonderful about the day – maybe it’s even the thought of that first yummy cup of coffee – I’ve found THAT day is remarkably more wonderful than I’d expected, given the lack of sleep.


    Why is that? Simply, I believe that what you think, what you BELIEVE, is what you become.


    I think a vision board is this same idea – crafted so you can SEE and be reminded of what you would like MORE of in your life! For me, seeing things – like writing myself lists or calendar reminders – helps me stay on track better than keeping lists in my mind.


    With the hope of increased peace, we started out with creating our own vision board for our house! We talked about what we’d like more of – peace, fun, cooperation, happiness – and began cutting out pictures and words from magazines (& print-outs from websites) that made us feel good, then arranged & glued them down on construction paper, and decorated with stickers & sparkles. Simple! The kids had fun, and I think it turned out sparkly, happy, and inspiring. My daughter looked at it first thing this morning after breakfast, which warmed my heart.


    Will it guide us towards more fun, deeper breaths, and peaceful conflict resolutions? I hope so. I can envision us passing by our vision board, smiling, and being reminded of the way we’d like to feel (and for me, the mom I’m striving to be) – calm, peaceful, happy, and fun. If nothing else, I know we enjoyed creative family time together – and that in itself is worth it!


    (our vision board, completed - and DD apparently already got the message!) 


    Peace to you.


    Ps: if you make, or have made a vision board yourself, please leave me a comment & let me know! I’d love to see your creations!

    Posted: Feb 21 2012, 10:58 by kelly | Comments (1) RSS comment feed |
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    How to Make Pig Snouts from Egg Cartons

    Ever wonder what to do with your egg cartons after you’re finished with the eggs (besides recycle them, of course)? How about reuse them to make... pig snouts! Great for make-believe, dress-up, Halloween costumes, or just... for creative FUN! 


    What you will need:


    - Cardboard egg carton (you could also use pink Styrofoam and skip the painting step… but I recommend buying eggs only in cardboard in the first place – for environmental reasons!)

    - Non-toxic (& washable is a plus!) tempra paint in pink (or mix red & white as we did)

    - Black marker

    - Scissors

    - Hole punch

    - Lightweight elastic (we used 1/8” soft stretch “baby elastic” for comfort on the kids’ heads)


    What to do:


    1) Cut the top off of the egg carton

    2) Flip over the bottom of the egg carton (where the eggs rest) and start painting! Depending on the opacity of your paint & the absorbency of the cardboard, you may need to apply more than one coat. I can say for certain this was the kids’ favorite part; aside from WEARING the snouts! Allow to dry completely.

    3) Use the marker to draw nostrils on each of the snouts.

    4) Cut apart each of the individual egg holders, using care not to cut the snouts too shallow.

    5) Punch 2 holes in each snout. Make sure the holes are in line with the nostrils… so you don’t end up with a “sideways” snout once you thread the elastic through! (This part I had to do myself – it was beastly trying to get our hole puncher to go all the way through the painted cardboard!)

    6) Cut the elastic into strips of approximately 22” each in length.
    7) Thread the elastic through one hole & double knot; then repeat on the other side. You may want to try the snout on for size first before double-knotting the second side.
    8) Put them on & act cute! :-D

    9) Recite some fun piggy poetry & pig rhymes:


    This Little Piggy


    This Little Piggy went to market,

    This Little Piggy stayed home,

    This Little Piggy had (vegetarian!) roast beef,

    This Little Piggy had none.

    And this little piggy went…

    “Wee wee wee” all the way home!

    (Author credit: Mother Goose)


    Ten Piggies


    Two mother pigs lived in a pen, (thumbs)
    Each had four babies and that made ten. (fingers of both hands)
    These four babies were pink and white. (fingers of one hand)
    These four babies were black as night. (fingers of the other hand)
    All eight babies loved to play. (wiggle fingers)
    And they rolled and they rolled in the mud all day. (roll hands)

    (Author credit: Traditional)


    Pig Limerick

    There was a sad pig with a tail
    Not curly, but straight as a nail.
    So he ate simply oodles
    Of pretzels and noodles,
    Which put a fine twist to his tail.


    (Author credit: Arnold Lobel)

    Posted: Jun 10 2011, 00:04 by kelly | Comments (3) RSS comment feed |
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    Filed under: Children

    Celebrate Mother Earth

    We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

    ~Native American Proverb


    Honor & celebrate our Mother Earth every day, Dear Readers. She's the only Earth we have.

    Happy Earth Day!


    Posted: Apr 22 2011, 14:56 by kelly | Comments (4) RSS comment feed |
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    Wordless Wednesday: InstagraMania

    A few days ago I discovered Instagram. I know I'm late to the party, but where has this party been all my life? It's an instant gratification salve to my no-longer-in-art-school-and-don't-have-enough-time-to-make-art-anymore blues. I can turn any so-so snapshot into something closer to remarkable - instantly. So, for this Wordless Wednesday, the fruits of my recent infatuation:

    Me, in the sun.

    Happy sprouts on our windowsill.

    My son's curls.

    Beautiful spring blossoms.

    My daughter, peeking.

    Spring rain on daffodils.

    Adam, contemplative.

    Have you discovered Instagram? Is there another iPhone photo app that's even cooler? Please let me know!

    Posted: Apr 06 2011, 18:16 by kelly | Comments (3) RSS comment feed |
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    Filed under: Wordless Wednesday